Labor-backed critics of Tenet Healthcare Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif., are taking aim at the company again as it continues to reel over questions about its high Medicare outlier reimbursements. The California Nurses Association and the Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy released a study that said Tenet's hospitals marked up the costs of drugs by more than double the average markup for U.S. hospitals. According to the study, which analyzed Medicare cost reports filed by the nation's 5,000 hospitals from 1993 to 1999, Tenet's hospitals had gross charges, or listed prices, for drugs that represented a 763% markup from costs. Overall, hospitals reported a markup of nearly 335% in 1999, the study said.
Meanwhile, the Coalition for Quality Health Care, which includes the Service Employees International Union, asked California Attorney General Bill Lockyer to block the sale of 60-bed University of Southern California-Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital to Tenet, arguing that other bidders might pay more. Tenet has agreed to pay $35 million in two installments for the center, the coalition said. Tenet spokesman Harry Anderson said in both cases the critics are motivated by their adversarial bargaining relationships with the company, which has more than 30 hospitals in California. Tenet owns a total of 113 hospitals nationwide. Read more on this story at www.modernhealthcare.com. -- by Vince Galloro