Service Employees International Union Asks CalPERS To Investigate Tenet Hospital Prices, Medical Practices
Service Employees International Union officials yesterday asked the California Public Employees' Retirement System to investigate the prices and medical practices of Tenet Healthcare, the state's largest for-profit hospital chain, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Officials from SEIU, which often disputes health insurance issues with Tenet, said that Tenet's average charge for a hospital stay in the 10 California counties in which the company operates was $33,547, more than 60% higher than at other local hospitals, according to an SEIU analysis of data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (Said, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/20). Tenet's billing practices have come under scrutiny after company officials announced earlier this month that the HHS Office of Inspector General will audit the company's hospitals to determine whether Tenet properly billed Medicare for outlier payments, which reimburse for unusually costly care. Tenet hospitals have been receiving an "extraordinarily high share" of these payments, according to government officials. Ken Weakley, an analyst for UBS Warburg, estimated that about 23% of Tenet's Medicare reimbursements come from outlier payments, compared to 6% on average for other comparable hospitals (California Healthline, 11/15). SEIU will "air its concerns" about Tenet's billing practices in December at the next CalPERS meeting (White, Los Angeles Times, 11/20).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.