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Tenet Agrees to Sell 4 Hospitals in L.A. County

Times Staff Writer

Tenet Healthcare Corp. announced Monday that it had reached an agreement to sell four Los Angeles-area hospitals for $100 million to the owner of Alhambra Hospital Medical Center.

Two hospitals -- Garfield Medical Center with 210 beds, and Monterey Park Hospital with 101 -- are located in Monterey Park. The sale also includes Whittier Hospital Medical Center, with 181 beds, and Greater El Monte Community Hospital, with 117 beds.

The buyer is AHMC Inc., a firm owned by family practitioner Dr. Jonathan Wu.

Wu’s AHMC and its affiliated companies have operated Alhambra Hospital, with 144 beds, since 1998 and the 108-bed Doctors’ Hospital Medical Center of Montclair since 2001.

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The four hospitals being sold are among 27 that Santa Barbara-based Tenet announced it would sell to help restore the company to profitability.

Tenet has been mired in financial and legal troubles since the fall of 2002, when it came to light that the nation’s second-largest hospital chain had engaged in a questionable method of billing Medicare for its sickest patients.

During this period it was disclosed that Tenet’s Redding Medical Center, and two surgeons there, were under investigation for performing allegedly unnecessary heart operations. Tenet sold the Redding hospital last week for about $57 million to an affiliate of Hospital Partners of America Inc., a privately held North Carolina firm.

Last year, Tenet paid $54 million to resolve a U.S. probe into the Redding heart surgeries, but admitted no wrongdoing. Tenet also is attempting to reach a settlement with hundreds of heart patients and family members who have filed claims against the company.

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In addition, Tenet is negotiating with the federal government to end several investigations into its Medicare billing, physician recruitment and other business practices.

Also hanging over Tenet is a probe by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles into the efficacy of certain heart procedures performed by doctors at three of its hospitals, including Centinela, on the Westside.

Tenet’s shares fell 11 cents to $12.57 on the New York Stock Exchange.


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