Tenet Healthcare Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif., received an administrative investigative demand from the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles regarding outlier payments at 19 hospitals, according to the company's quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Tenet said it is cooperating with authorities. The demand was issued in January. The company's outlier payments are the subject of an HHS audit following revelations last year that Tenet had substantially higher outlier payments than most hospitals. In other news, Tenet said it has suspended cardiac procedures at 188-bed Redding (Calif.) Medical Center. The hospital's former cardiology director and former chairman of cardiac surgery are being investigated by the federal government for possibly performing unnecessary procedures and fraudulently billing Medicare. Neither physician has been charged. Tenet said it is recruiting replacements for the physicians, who no longer practice at Redding. Last month the hospital said publicity about the probe had led to a 20% to 30% decline in patient volume. Tenet owns and operates 114 hospitals. -- by Vince Galloro
Calif. U.S. attorney eyes Tenet outlier payments
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