Tenet makes $238M offer to settle kickback allegations

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Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare has offered to pay $238 million to settle allegations that four of its hospitals violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act.

Last year, Tenet disclosed that four of its hospitals are involved in a criminal investigation. The investigation arose out of a civil lawsuit filed under the qui tam, or whistle-blower, provision of the False Claims Act. The lawsuit alleges contractual arrangements between the Tenet hospitals and Roswell, Ga.-based Hispanic Medical Management violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act.

Beginning in 2000, the Tenet hospitals contracted with HMM for translation, marketing, management and Medicare eligibility determination services. The lawsuit alleges the Tenet subsidiaries paid clinics operated by HMM to refer pregnant patients to the hospitals for Medicaid-paid deliveries.

In a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Tenet said it began discussions with the Department of Justice and the State of Georgia in January in an attempt to resolve the criminal investigation and civil litigation. On Feb. 18, Tenet offered to pay $238 million to settle the matters.

"We expect that the DOJ will make a counterproposal, and there can be no assurance that the ongoing discussions to resolve these matters will be successful," said Tenet in the SEC filing. "Based on the ongoing uncertainties and potentially wide range of outcomes associated with any potential resolution, we cannot estimate the ultimate amount of potential loss or range of reasonable possible loss we may face."

The following hospitals are involved in the investigation: Atlanta Medical Center, North Fulton Hospital in Roswell, Ga., Spalding Regional Medical Center in Griffin, Ga., and Hilton Head Hospital in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

More articles on healthcare industry lawsuits:

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