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Health News Florida

Levine to Leave HMA, FL

Alan_Levine.jpg
hma.com

Alan Levine, who became the face of Health Management Associates when the hospital chain was the focus of a negative "60 Minutes" broadcast last year, has been recruited to lead a group of non-profit hospitals in Tennessee. 

Levine, 46, will become president and CEO of Mountain States Health Alliance in Johnson City, Tenn., in early January, according to a press release. Mountain States' current president is retiring.

Until recently, Levine was best known for his public roles, as secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration under former Gov. Jeb Bush and then as secretary of Health and Hospitals for the state of Louisiana under Gov. Bobby Jindal. In both states, Levine led major initiatives to crack down on Medicaid fraud.

Then last December, Levine's face was seen nationwide defending HMA in an interview with Steve Kroft on "60 Minutes," answering accusations that the chain pressured emergency-department physicians to admit patients who didn't need it. Levine said the company had checked out the accusations and found them not credible.

The federal investigation based on those accusations continues. Levine says all the activities under inquiry preceded his arrival at HMA in 2010. He says he doesn't regret defending the company on the show.

"I believed then, as I do now, that the 40,000 employees and 10,000 doctors associated with HMA deserved to have someone defend their company, and I told the truth to Mr. Kroft.  As uncomfortable as that encounter may have been, I do not ever regret telling the truth."

He added that "if it were ever shown that anyone did anything improper, I will advocate that the full weight of the law be brought upon those who were responsible."

Levine is a senior vice president of the company and serves as its Florida Group president. HMA has 23 hospitals in Florida.

In the past year, the publicly traded company has been in turmoil. Last week, a group of investors  obtained enough support from shareholders to oust and replace the board of directors. 

Mountain States Health Alliance operates a large tertiary hospital, several community hospitals and other health-care services.