Tenet Healthcare Names New Compliance Officer, Special Adviser
Officials at Santa Barbara-based Tenet Healthcare, the second-largest for-profit hospital chain in the nation, yesterday named Cheryl Wagonhurst as the new compliance officer, the Los Angeles Times reports. Wagonhurst will manage a 40-member compliance department that will include legal, clinical and financial staff, Tenet officials said. In addition, the company hired D. McCarty "Mac" Thornton, former chief counsel to the HHS Office of Inspector General, as special adviser to the compliance department. Tenet announced the new compliance measures as part of an effort to "restore its reputation," the Times reports. Tenet faces several federal investigations related to Medicare billing and other business practices, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 8/5). On July 17, a federal grand jury issued a 17-count criminal indictment of San Diego-based Alvarado Hospital Medical Center; hospital CEO Barry Weinbaum; and Alvarado owner Tenet HealthSystem Hospitals, a subsidiary of Tenet. Earlier in July, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles issued subpoenas to Tenet for records related to physician-relocation agreements since 1995 at seven Southern California hospitals. In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the HHS OIG and the Federal Trade Commission have launched investigations into Tenet since October 2002. Tenet also faces a number of lawsuits from shareholders and patients treated by two physicians at California-based Redding Medical Center who allegedly performed unnecessary procedures (California Healthline, 7/22).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.