U.S.C. Files Lawsuit Against Tenet Healthcare

New York Times
August 23, 2006

The University of Southern California sued the Tenet Healthcare Corporation yesterday in an attempt to take over a Los Angeles university hospital that Tenet owns and operates, saying the company’s reputation is in tatters.

Years of disputes, litigation and settlements have reduced Tenet’s unrestricted cash, forcing the company “to substantially alter and vary its funding and capital investment” for the hospital, the university said in its complaint, which was filed in State Superior Court in Los Angeles. The lawsuit seeks to terminate Tenet’s lease and operating agreement.

“With the material difficulties Tenet has brought upon itself, the company has cut back on its financial support for the hospital,” said Marshall B. Grossman, a lawyer for U.S.C. “The university has taken this step to protect its reputation and that of its doctors.”

Tenet agreed in June to pay $725 million in cash and to give up $175 million in fees to settle allegations that it defrauded the Medicare program. Tenet’s revenue has fallen since it disclosed in 2002 that it had used price increases to win higher payments for some of Medicare’s sickest patients.

Tenet, which is based in Dallas, disagreed with the university’s assessment of its financial support.

Tenet has made “substantial” investments in U.S.C. University Hospital, including $120 million in a 10-story patient tower that will open in the next few months, a spokesman, Steven Campanini, said.

“The partnership between Tenet and U.S.C. has been successful for 20 years,” Mr. Campanini said. “This appears to be an unfortunate negotiation tactic better left to the arbitration provisions in our agreement.”

Comments (4)

Ethel Burge-ZagalaMarch 20th, 2007 at 8:34 am

My husband entered Sierra Vista Hospital in San Luis Obispo for a colectemy. He was discharged 24 days later and received a bill from Tenet for $282,306. /$11,762.75 per day seems to be overcharging for sure. My 51 year old healthy husband lost 25 lbs while there because he was not allowed meals due to the type of surgery. We negotiated with both Tenet and the hospital and at one point we were told he we would write them a check for $56,000 that day, they would accept it as payment. We are a middle-class working family and certainly could not sit down and write them a check for such an amount. We finally said we would give them $20,000 off a credit card and my husband applied for a personal loan for $30,000 and would work out the rest. They declined and said it needed to be paid immediately for us to receive the $56,000 discounted price. My husband is a self-employed general contractor and we must have a line of credit to survive in his type of business. We had purchased health insurance from the National Association of Self Employed as that was the only insurance he could get due to pre-existing conditions (Asthma (which is well controlled) and the diverticulitis (which is what the surgery was to “cure”). NASE is also under investigation I believe. The $282,306 is only for the hospital. We also were faced with separate bills for anesthetics, radiology, chest consultants, surgeons, lab work for a diagnostic colonoscopy, etc. The list goes on and on.

In short, our medical bills and the ensuing months of my husband being “out of work” may bankrupt us.

I am seeking help in trying to deal with Tenet. I have written them asking for documents of what Medicare pays for the services they have charged us for. Would it make sense to get an attorney in this case since Tenet appears to be doing “business as usual”. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Their latest communication which I received yesterday was “Per our conversation, we have agreed to accept $93,838.80 as Settlement in Full on the balance identified above. This offer is valid until the close of business on ??.

It seems they are trying to make up for all their fines by hugely overcharging anyone who happens to fall into their web.

What to do?

Ethel M. Burge-Zagala

Ethel Burge-ZagalaMarch 20th, 2007 at 8:42 am

By the way, NASE paid a total of $25,000 toward the original bill.

Their deductible was $1500 per incident and that includes $1500 for various categories such as $1500 for the hospital, $1500 for any lab work, $1500 for……..

They recently increased both their monthly premium and upped the deductible to $2500 per incident etc.

NASE and Tenet were made for each other.

Ethel M. Burge-Zagala

Thomas SaccuciFebruary 12th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

TENET is still at it!! I just won a judgment against them for overcharging, falsifying doctor bills, etc. When does this stop????? Who do we have to go to? If anyone needs any information on my suit, you can email me at tsaccuci@yahoo.com

JonNovember 2nd, 2010 at 5:30 am

Tenet owns a hospital in Rock Hill SC. Piedmont medical center is the only hospital in our county and they are trying to get the bid to build a second. Unfortunately, the hospital also provides ambulance service to the county. Tenet has put four ambulances in the area they want to build this new hospital and in other, more busy areas, they are lucky if they have one ambulance. These four ambulances have been instructed to transport patients to Piedmont, not the hospital of their choice which is the law as long as it is within reasonable distance. Another example of how corrupt Tenet healthcare is…..

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