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New Probe of Tenet by U.S. Senate

September 06, 2003|Ronald D. White | Times Staff Writer

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee has asked Tenet Healthcare Corp. for documents relating to alleged unnecessary medical procedures and other practices, the Santa Barbara hospital operator said Friday.

Tenet said it received a letter from Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee chairman, saying the panel was examining Tenet's "corporate governance practices with respect to federal health-care programs."

The company said it would cooperate with the probe, the latest in a series targeting Tenet. The company this week disclosed that the Department of Health and Human Services has begun proceedings that could bar its Redding Medical Center from federal insurance programs. Two doctors at Redding Medical were accused last year of performing unnecessary heart procedures.

Tenet said the Senate committee has requested "numerous documents principally relating to Redding Medical Center, physician relationships, alleged Medical procedures and Medicare 'outlier' payments." Outlier payments are intended to help hospitals cover the costs of complicated cases.

In a statement, Tenet noted that it has changed its policy on outlier payments and installed a new management team.

Tenet stock fell 32 cents Friday to $15.66 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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