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Judge denies class-action status for hospital suit against Tenet

December 08, 2006|From Reuters

Tenet Healthcare Corp., which this year settled a government probe into Medicare billing for $900 million, said Thursday that a federal judge had denied a bid by hospitals for class-action status to sue the company.

Dallas-based Tenet, the biggest publicly traded owner of hospitals, said the judge had denied a request by Boca Raton Community Hospital Inc. in Florida to sue Tenet on behalf of nearly all other acute care hospitals in the United States.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, alleged that Tenet's pricing policies violated federal laws, harming other hospitals, Tenet said.

In the four-year investigation by the Justice Department settled in June, government investigators alleged Tenet inflated its bills to Medicare, the health insurance plan for millions of elderly and disabled. Tenet admitted no wrongdoing.

Boca Raton Community Hospital claimed a class of more than 3,000 hospitals suffered because of Tenet's pricing policies.

But the ruling said the hospitals could not be called homogeneous because some of them probably profited from some of the same types of overcharges Tenet engaged in.

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