The Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed Tenet Healthcare Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif., for patient-billing records dating back to 1997, Tenet said. The subpoena indicates the SEC has elevated its 8-month-old probe of Tenet into a formal investigation. The SEC began an informal inquiry in November, shortly after Tenet's relatively high Medicare outlier payments were revealed. The subpoena demands billing documents dating back to May 31, 1997, and covers documents related to stop-loss payments as well as to outlier payments. Like federal outlier payments, stop-loss payments made by private health plans are meant to compensate providers for extraordinarily costly cases. The SEC also asked for documents related to increases in Tenet's gross charges, which the company has said helped fuel higher outlier payments. Tenet said in November that the SEC was informally investigating the outlier payments, high trading volume in Tenet stock and whether the company knew of suspicious trading activity by parties outside of Tenet. -- by Vince Galloro
SEC subpoenas Tenet in outlier payments probe
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