Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare Corp. has agreed to pay $42.8 million to resolve allegations it overbilled Medicare for the treatment of patients who needed intense inpatient rehabilitation.
The Dallas company said Tuesday that the settlement resolves inquiries by the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia.
The allegations involve the admission of patients at 25 facilities from May 2005 to December 2007. The Justice Department said Tenet billed Medicare for patients who did not meet the standards for admission to inpatient rehab facilities. Medicare pays those facilities at a higher rate because patients require more difficult rehabilitation and more medical supervision than patients at other types of facilities.
The Justice Department said it was the single largest U.S. recovery to date involving inappropriate inpatient rehab admissions.
Tenet said it already set aside money to cover the settlement and will make the payment in the second quarter.
The company said it now operates only eight inpatient rehabilitation centers. It also runs 50 hospitals and around 100 outpatient health centers.
Tenet said it identified overpayments at one facility in Georgia in 2007, and disclosed those payments to the government.
Shares of Tenet Healthcare Corp. fell 14 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $4.97 in midday trading Tuesday. Its shares have traded in a 52-week range of $3.46 to $7.56 per share.