Tenet Hospital, Affiliate Subpoenaed

From Times Wire Services

Hospital chain Tenet Healthcare Corp. said Monday that the U.S. attorney's office in New Orleans had issued two additional subpoenas to the firm's People's Health Network affiliate and one new subpoena to its Memorial Medical Center.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tenet said People's Health Network, a New Orleans-based health plan management services provider, and Memorial Medical Center, a New Orleans hospital owned by a Tenet unit, received the subpoenas Friday.

Tenet, which is based in Santa Barbara and is the second-biggest U.S. hospital chain, said one of the new subpoenas to People's Health Network sought documents and information from Jan. 1, 1999, to the present about payments and contractual matters to physicians and others as well as third-party reviews of denials of services.

The other subpoena to People's Health and the subpoena to Memorial Medical seek various documents, including agendas, minutes, bylaws, membership data and policies from June 1, 2002, to the present regarding medical staff committees and other medical staff entities.

Tenet has a 50% membership interest in People's Health, which is the management services provider for Tenet health maintenance organization Tenet Choices Inc.

Separately, a U.S. district judge in Los Angeles told government lawyers Monday to clarify their Medicare billing lawsuit against Tenet.

Judge Gary A. Feess said the Justice Department had to say whether the 103 hospitals named in the complaint submitted false claims when Tenet owned them and whether Tenet officers ordered the alleged fraud. Tenet had sought to dismiss the suit.

The U.S. sued in January, accusing the company of improperly classifying illnesses to inflate Medicare reimbursement claims by more than $100 million in the 1990s.

Tenet faces investigations by at least three U.S. government agencies over pricing, billing and related issues after it said it raised prices to get more money from Medicare. Tenet this month reported a third-quarter loss of $308 million, its fourth consecutive quarterly loss.

Shares of Tenet closed at $14.32 on Monday, up 57 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.


Dow Jones/Associated Press and Bloomberg News were used in compiling this report.

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