WASHINGTON (Reuters)—U.S. hospital chain Tenet Healthcare Corp. and two of its Atlanta-area units will pay more than $513 million to resolve criminal charges and civil claims relating to a scheme to defraud the U.S. and pay kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Monday.1
Tenet had disclosed in August that it had reached an agreement in principle on the matter.
The scheme involved primarily undocumented, expectant mothers who were told at prenatal care clinics that Medicaid would cover their costs if they gave birth at one of the Tenet hospitals. The clinics received bribes and kickbacks from the hospitals and involved about 20,000 women who received Medicaid benefits, the Justice Department said.
Tenet said in a statement that the conduct in the matter was “unacceptable” and that it has amended and expanding policies around referral source arrangements.
Tenet subsidiaries Atlanta Medical Center Inc. and North Fulton Medical Center Inc. agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay those healthcare kickbacks and bribes in plea agreements that remain subject to court approvals, the department said in a statement.
Tenet agreed to pay $244 million to the federal government, $122 million to Georgia and $892,125 to South Carolina to resolve claims. Ralph Williams, a Georgia resident who filed a whistleblower suit against Tenet, will receive $84 million of the civil settlement.
- 1. U.S. Department of Justice. News release: Hospital chain will pay over $513 million for defrauding the United States and making illegal payments in exchange for patient referrals; two subsidiaries agree to plead guilty. 2016 Oct 3.