Tenet agrees to pay $66M to resolve kickback lawsuit

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare has tentatively agreed to pay $66 million to resolve a qui tam, or whistleblower, lawsuit dating back to 2016, according to Reuters.

The lawsuit alleges the company billed government payers for services provided by physicians who had an improper financial relationship with Oklahoma Center for Orthopaedic & Multispecialty Surgery in Oklahoma City, which Tenet's USPI unit jointly owned with physicians. The complaint alleges various violations of the False Claims Act, the Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law.

The lawsuit was unsealed in May 2018, about two years after it was filed. Tenet began discussing a potential settlement with the Department of Justice and other government agencies in the third quarter of this year.

In October, Tenet reached an agreement in principle with the Justice Department to resolve the lawsuit and related investigations for $66 million. The agreement is subject to further approvals by the Justice Department and other government agencies, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tenet, which has established a reserve for the matter, said it believes the settlement could be finalized as early as the first quarter of next year.

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