Tenet agrees to pay $66M settlement in orthopedic surgical facility kickback suit

Tenet plans to pay around $66 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the company violated False Claims, Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law related to services performed at one of its hospitals, according to a recent SEC filing.

Three key notes:

1. The Dallas-based company's United Surgical Partners International jointly owned Oklahoma Center for Orthopedic & Multispecialty Surgery, which billed government payers for services that were provided by physicians that allegedly had an improper financial relationship with the hospital.

2. The whistle-blower lawsuit was filed in 2016 and unsealed in May 2018, and the DOJ declined to intervene with the issues that involved Tenet and USPI. The company disclosed in its quarterly filings on Nov. 5 that it entered into a tentative agreement with the Department of Justice to pay $66 million to resolve the suit.

3. The Justice Department and other government agencies still need to approve the agreement. However, Tenet has already established a reserve for the payment, which it believes could be final during the first quarter of 2020.

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