Tenet Healthcare Corp., Dallas, said it received a subpoena from the U.S. attorney in Memphis, Tenn., seeking documents regarding physician-relocation agreements at Tenet's St. Francis Hospital in Memphis since Jan. 1, 1999. Tenet said the subpoena was similar to requests made by federal prosecutors around the country. The company has announced previous subpoenas regarding physician-relocation agreements and medical directorships from U.S. attorneys in Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco and El Paso, Texas. Meanwhile, a retrial is scheduled to begin this week in the criminal kickback case against Tenet's Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in San Diego, former Alvarado chief Barry Weinbaum and a Tenet subsidiary.
Christus Health suit dismissed
A judge dismissed a federal lawsuit over uninsured-patient billing against Christus Health, Dallas, and related organizations, saying, "The plaintiff cannot prevail on any of her claims under any imaginable theory." U.S. District Judge Howell Cobb in Beaumont, Texas, dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice on all counts and criticized a wave of similar suits filed against hospitals and health systems nationwide. The majority of uninsured-billing suits have been filed by a legal consortium led by Oxford, Miss., attorney Richard Scruggs. The Christus case was not among them. The Scruggs consortium's effort, which has failed almost completely in federal courts, won a state court victory April 15, when a judge in Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland, Ore., denied a motion to dismiss a case against Legacy Health System.
LTAC hospitals to get rate hike
Long-term acute-care hospitals will receive a 3.4% Medicare rate increase from July 1 to June 30, 2006, under a final rule issued by the CMS. The agency said it expected aggregate Medicare payments to long-term acute-care hospitals to increase $169 million through the rate year.