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Tenet Criticized at Assembly Hearing

IN BRIEF / HEALTH CARE

February 07, 2003|From Associated Press

Wide variations in health-care prices have gone unchecked for years, allowing aggressive hospitals to jack up charges and collect more money from public insurance plans, state lawmakers were told.

"Our system tolerates a wide variation in pricing that's not related to a variance in quality of care or patient satisfaction," Allen Feezor, assistant executive director of CalPERS, told the Assembly Health Committee.

The hearing was sparked by allegations that Santa Barbara-based Tenet Healthcare Corp., the nation's second-largest hospital chain, and other hospitals manipulated public insurance plans by raising charges in order to collect supplementary Medicare payments.

Tenet may charge more than rivals, but it said it doesn't get more when the bills are paid.

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