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Tenet Healthcare Corp. headquarters are shown in Dallas on March 2, 2006. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

A hospital chain will pay $513 million for bribing clinics to refer pregnant women

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A major U.S. hospital chain will pay $513 million after two of its subsidiaries bribed clinics to secure patient referrals, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

Tenet Healthcare owned hospitals that allegedly bribed nearby prenatal clinics to refer patients, mostly undocumented Hispanic mothers, according to the DOJ release. In some cases, the clinics said Medicaid would only cover the birthing expenses at Tenet-run hospitals. In other cases, patients were told they were required to go to Tenet hospitals, even if other ones were closer to their homes.

Tenet took advantage of vulnerable pregnant women in clear violation of the law...
Samuel Olens, Georgia attorney general

Two Tenet subsidiaries, Atlanta Medical Center Inc. and North Fulton Medical Center Inc., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud Medicaid and to kickback charges.

The subsidiaries will forfeit $145 million to the U.S. federal government, equal to the amount earned by the kickback scheme.

When pregnant women seek medical advice, they deserve to receive care untainted by bribes and illegal kickbacks.
David Bitkower, Dept. of Justice

The hospitals allegedly hid the kickbacks by falsely certifying compliance with Tenet's corporate integrity agreement.

Civil complaints were originally filed in by the Department of Justice and the state of Georgia in 2013 and 2014.

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