The California Department of Health Services said it would audit the Medicaid billings of all Tenet Healthcare Corp. hospitals in the state after finding more than $3 million in overpayments to Tenet's Redding (Calif.) Medical Center. Tenet previously repaid $8.9 million in overpayments identified in routine annual audits of Redding's state Medicaid billings. More extensive audits revealed the additional overpayments, the department said. Tenet said in a securities filing that it disputes the new finding and plans to appeal. In a separate securities filing, Tenet said Blue Cross of California has terminated its contract with Tenet's Doctors Medical Center of Modesto (Calif.), effective Nov. 30. Tenet and the insurer, a unit of investor-owned WellPoint Health Networks, have a dispute over $50 million in reimbursements that Tenet says are due to Doctors Medical Center. Tenet said last month that disputes with insurers in California were one of several factors forcing the company to take a $200 million to $225 million third-quarter charge for bad debt. Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee has asked the Blues plan to turn over its findings for the committee's investigation of Tenet. In a third filing, Tenet said that it will not renew its lease on Suburban Medical Center, Paramount, Calif., when it expires Oct. 31, 2004. Tenet owns and operates 106 hospitals, including five hospitals it has agreed to sell. -- by Vince Galloro
Financial disputes multiply Tenet's Calif. troubles
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