A study for the California Nurses Association said that investor-owned hospitals account for 82 of the top 101 acute-care hospitals as ranked by charge-to-cost ratio, including 64 hospitals operated by Tenet Healthcare Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif. The Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy, which is linked to the CNA, studied data from Medicare cost reports for fiscal 2000 and 2001. The ratio is the inverse of the cost-to-charge ratio used to calculate Medicare outlier payments, an issue that has plagued Tenet since it was revealed last fall that the company's outlier reimbursements were much higher than average. Tenet's Doctors Medical Center of Modesto (Calif.) topped the CNA's list with a charge-to-cost ratio of 10 times costs. In response, Tenet spokesman Steven Campanini said, "This is just another (public relations) stunt by the husband and wife team at the CNA and the IHSP." Campanini was referring to CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro and her husband, Don, who is director of the IHSP. Campanini also noted the CNA's ongoing efforts to unionize registered nurses at Tenet hospitals. He declined to make specific comments on the validity of the methodology used. HCA, Nashville, had the second-highest number of hospitals on the list, with eight.
In unrelated news, Tenet said it plans to close its 200-bed Parkview Hospital, Philadelphia, by September. Parkview was one of 14 hospitals that Tenet in March said was slated for sale or closure. No qualified buyers were interested, according to a statement from officials in Philadelphia. Nearby 158-bed Elkins Park (Pa.) Hospital is still for sale. -- by Vince Galloro