Tenet Healthcare in Dallas has agreed to pay $238 million to resolve a False Claims Act lawsuit involving alleged kickbacks for maternity referrals by four of its hospitals.
The settlement is in response to a whistleblower lawsuit alleging fraud when the hospitals — Atlanta Medical Center; North Fulton Hospital, Roswell; Spalding Regional Hospital, Griffin; and Hilton Head Hospital on Hilton Head Island, SC — contracted with clinics operated by Hispanic Medical Management to provide prenatal care, predominantly to uninsured patients. The lawsuit claims that payments for translation, marketing, and help with Medicaid eligibility determinations actually were illegal kickbacks for referrals.
“We expect that the DOJ [Department of Justice] will make a counterproposal, and there can be no assurance that the ongoing discussions to resolve these matters will be successful,” Tenet said in a recent filing to shareholders. “The terms of a final resolution may require us to pay significant fines and penalties and give rise to other costs or adverse consequences that materially exceed the reserve we have established.”