Redding Medical Center Whistleblower Asks Court To Examine $54 Million Settlement Between Tenet, Government
A physician at Redding Medical Center who filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the hospital has asked a federal court to investigate the $54 million settlement between the federal government and Redding parent company Tenet Healthcare, the Modesto Bee reports (Stanton/Walsh, Modesto Bee, 9/9). On Aug. 6, Tenet officials agreed to pay $54 million to settle allegations that Dr. Chae Hyun Moon, former chief cardiologist at Redding, and Dr. Fidel Realyvasquez, a cardiac surgeon at the hospital, performed unnecessary heart surgeries and defrauded Medicare. Tenet did not admit wrongdoing under the settlement but agreed to implement new procedures at Redding (California Healthline, 9/8). Dr. Patrick Campbell, an internal medicine specialist at Redding, and his attorney, David Rude, said that under the settlement, Tenet will pay only cents on each dollar that the government could have recovered; they maintain that Tenet should pay about $500 million. "The government owes this court, Dr. Campbell and, most importantly, the public an explanation as to why the government has settled at this early stage for what appears to be only a fraction of the total amount fraudulently claimed and collected by the defendants," Rude wrote in documents filed with the court. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Hirst, who negotiated the settlement on behalf of the government, said that Campbell and Rude made their estimate of the amount that the government could have recovered from Tenet "without any apparent thought as to their accuracy." Hirst added, "By any account, this was an extremely successful settlement. The amount recovered was far more than any of us believed we could achieve." Tenet officials did not comment on the issue (Modesto Bee, 9/9).
Meanwhile, Senate Finance Committee investigators have asked Campbell to meet with them to discuss alleged wrongdoing at Redding and the settlement with the government (Stanton, Sacramento Bee, 9/10). The settlement ended federal civil and criminal investigations into Tenet, subsidiary Tenet HealthSystems Hospitals and Redding, but it allowed investigations into the involvement of individuals in the alleged Medicare fraud at Redding to continue (California Healthline, 9/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.