CalPERS, the nation's second-largest purchaser of health insurance, said Tuesday that it planned to analyze claims data from patients of Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s hospitals in California to determine whether medical costs have risen excessively.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System, which provides retirement and health benefit services to more than 1.3 million members and nearly 2,500 employers, has asked its health plan administrator, Blue Cross of California, to provide claims data for the last five years. The pension fund also requested information on quality of care at each of Tenet's 40 hospitals in California.
Tenet, the nation's second-largest hospital chain, already faces a Medicare audit from federal regulators and an investigation of the company's billing practices by California law- makers. In addition, federal officials are investigating whether two heart doctors performed numerous unnecessary surgeries at Tenet's Redding Medical Center.
CalPERS spokesman Clark McKinley said the analysis was expected to begin in mid-January. It is premature to talk about what actions the pension fund may take upon completing the review, he said.