Tenet Hires Independent Medical Auditor, Sends Investigators to Redding Medical Center
Tenet Healthcare has hired an independent medical auditor and sent a team of investigators to look into allegations that two surgeons at Redding, Calif.-based Redding Medical Center performed unnecessary surgeries and into questions surrounding the company's "unusually high" Medicare payments, the Wall Street Journal reports. Tenet's latest move is an attempt to "restore confidence in its ... corporate integrity," according to the Journal (Rundle, Wall Street Journal, 11/5). The company last week announced that federal officials searched Redding Medical Center as part of an investigation of two physicians who may have performed unneeded cardiac surgeries and potentially defrauded Medicare. Also last week, an analyst for UBS Warburg downgraded Tenet's stock because of concerns about the company's high rate of Medicare outlier payments, which compensate for unusual cases that require very costly care (California Healthline, 11/1). Tenet officials said yesterday that the company has hired Mercer Consulting Group to help review past treatments by the two doctors. Mercer will hire "expert cardiologists" to examine patient records and internal documents concerning alleged unnecessary surgeries or other procedures and to review any future decisions by the two physicians. In addition, Tenet officials said that the review will be extended to any of its hospitals with heart programs or other specialized programs that "generate high levels of 'outlier' payments." Meanwhile, the Journal reports that Tenet's actions were "favorably received" by investors, resulting in a 1.9% rise in stock price at yesterday's closing of the New York Stock Exchange (Wall Street Journal, 11/5).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.