US Joins Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Tenet Healthcare

Justice Department Joins Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Tenet Healthcare


The US Department of Justice announced that they would join the whistleblower lawsuit against Tenet Healthcare, which alleges that the company paid kickbacks for patient referrals in order to scam Medicaid.

Reportedly, the parent company, Tenet Healthcare Corporation, and another health care group, Health Management Associates, paid clinics to recruit pregnant, undocumented women, usually Hispanic, for prenatal care, then referred the women to the parent company’s hospitals for deliveries in order to get more money through Medicaid to pay for the women’s health care. Undocumented workers and immigrants cannot receive federal benefits like Medicaid or Medicare – however, Medicaid considers childbirth an emergency condition, and Medicaid makes exceptions for medical emergencies.

“Schemes such as this one corrupt the health-care system and take advantage of vulnerable patients,” Stuart Delery, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil division, said in a statement.

Tenet operates in 12 states, but the medical facilities named in the whistleblower lawsuit include four hospitals and one HMA – most in Georgia, but one based in Hilton Head, SC.

The FBI claims that the hospitals paid kickbacks to obstetrics clinics in a chain known as Clinica de la Mama, which primarily served “undocumented Hispanic women.” Then the women were referred to their local Tenet organization for childbirth, the company filed a request for refund through Medicaid, as the women were often too poor to afford health care or pay for birthing services.

“My office has made the investigation of health care fraud a priority,” said Michael J. Moore, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “In a time when too many people were struggling to get health care for themselves and their children, Tenet and these hospitals plundered a system set up for those truly in need.”

Tenet officials deny the whistleblower allegations of kickbacks and defrauding government services. The agreements with the clinics provided “substantial benefits to women in underserved Hispanic communities,” Tenet said. “By ensuring that pregnant women received prenatal care and appropriate treatment during birth, these programs increased the likelihood of a safe birth and a healthy baby while reducing the overall cost to state Medicaid programs.”

The Strom Law Firm Protects Medicaid Fraud Whistleblowers in South Carolina

Common whistle blower actions include:

  • Health care fraud, including Medicare and Medicaid fraud,
  • defense contractor fraud, and
  • other kinds of fraud

Qui tam lawsuits have been, and continue to be, a very effective and successful tool in combating government procurement and program fraud.

Bolstered by amendments passed by Congress in 1986, the law has armed private citizens who have independent and direct knowledge of fraud, with a weapon to prosecute government contractors and others who are defrauding the Government.

If you have first-hand knowledge of government fraud occurring at your place of employment or your doctor’s office, including Medicaid fraud, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help protect your rights. In order to help the government provide the best possible services, Medicare and Medicaid fraud must be reported as soon as possible. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the complexity of qui tam and whistleblower suits, and we offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today.803.252.4800



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