Tenet must pay whistleblowing cardiologists $10M, court rules

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare must pay two cardiologists who filed a False Claims Act lawsuit $10 million and reinstate their medical staff privileges for one year, a Michigan federal court ruled Feb. 1, according to Bloomberg Law

In December, Amir Kaki, MD, and Mahir Elder, MD, who were fired from their leadership positions at Tenet's Detroit Medical Center in October 2018, were awarded $10.6 million. The arbitration award also included reinstatement of their medical staff privileges. 

The physicians, who originally brought suit in 2019 alleging violations of the False Claims Act,  claimed they were ousted from their leadership positions for reporting problems affecting patient care. The court ordered the parties to arbitrate the federal claims, and the arbitrator found that Tenet acted with malice when the physicians were fired from their leadership positions and later had their staff privileges revoked, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Tenet, Detroit Medical Center and the other named defendants tried to get the arbitrator's award vacated in federal court. 

The defendants brought three main challenges to the award, and the court stated that only one — whether the arbitrator exceeded her powers — was a legitimate potential ground for vacating the award. Arthur Tarnow, a district judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, ultimately concluded that the defendants' arguments were without merit. 

The defendants are appealing the court's order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 

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