Tenet to pay $1.4M to settle medically unnecessary implant suit

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare and one of its hospitals in Palm Springs, Calif., will pay $1.41 million to resolve allegations that they knowingly charged Medicare for implanting unnecessary cardiac monitors in patients in violation of the False Claims Act, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The lawsuit claims that surgeons at Tenet's Desert Regional Medical Center implanted unnecessary cardiac monitors in Medicare beneficiaries between 2014 and 2017. Medicare only reimburses services that are considered medically necessary.

"Invasive medical procedures, such as implanting heart monitors, are not without risk," said Timothy DeFrancesca, special agent with the HHS Office of Inspector General.  "Therefore, when these procedures are medically unnecessary, as contended in this case, people in government health programs are put at needless peril, and taxpayers end up with the bill."       

The settlement resolves the suit brought by whistleblower Michael Grace, a former Desert Regional Medical employee.

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