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Hospital operator Tenet to pay almost $43M to settle false Medicare claims


WASHINGTON (Reuters)—Tenet Healthcare Corp. has agreed to pay almost $43 million to settle allegations that it overbilled the federal Medicare health care program for treating patients at certain rehabilitation facilities, the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday.

The company was accused of improperly billing Medicare between May 2005 and December 2007 for treating people at inpatient rehabilitation facilities when they did not qualify for such an admission, the Justice Department said.

Tenet agreed to pay $42.75 million to resolve the allegations, which were made under the U.S. False Claims Act. Medicare is the federal health care program for the elderly.

The hospital operator said that during a 2007 internal review, its compliance department identified the overpayments at a rehabilitation unit at a Georgia hospital where patients could have been treated at a lower level of care.

The company said it notified federal officials of the situation at the Georgia facility, and the settlement announced on Tuesday was a result of those discussions.

Tenet has eight such inpatient facilities.