Tenet Healthcare Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif., fired back at Blue Cross of California in its dispute over 23 patients with heart disease treated at Tenet's Doctors Medical Center of Modesto (Calif.). Tenet said a review of the cases by an independent panel of physicians commissioned by Tenet found all of the procedures were medically necessary. One reviewer found one patient's treatment to be too aggressive but within established guidelines, Tenet said. The physicians are not affiliated with Tenet and did not know identifying details about the patients, their physicians or where the procedures were performed. In a letter last month, the Blues plan, a unit of investor-owned WellPoint Health Networks, alleged that 13 of the 23 procedures had been medically unnecessary, echoing allegations made against Redding (Calif.) Medical Center. Tenet recently paid $54 million to settle its alleged liability in the Redding case without admitting guilt. In other news, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has asked Tenet to disclose any attempts it might be making to identify patients whose procedures were medically unnecessary and, if needed, what steps the company might be making to notify those patients. Tenet owns and operates 106 hospitals, including five it has agreed to sell. -- by Vince Galloro
Tenet says panel finds Calif. procedures necessary
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