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Tenet settles Fla. issues

Tenet Healthcare Corp. said Tuesday it will pay Florida $7-million to resolve all matters involving the hospital operator that are being litigated or investigated by the Florida attorney general's office.

The $7-million will be recorded as a charge in the fourth quarter.

Tenet said the matters include a civil lawsuit regarding Medicare outlier payments that was filed by the attorney general's office in March 2005 on behalf of 13 county hospital districts, health care systems and nonprofit corporations in Florida.

The settlement also ends an investigation begun in mid 2003 by the Florida Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of some Medicaid payments and a separate investigation begun in early 2005 of certain Medicaid psychiatric billings at a Tenet hospital in South Florida.

Tenet said in the settlement it didn't admit to, and specifically denied all of the allegations.

Tenet has agreed to pay $7-million, including $4-million to establish a fund to pay for care of indigent, uninsured patients at the 13 county hospital districts and systems in Florida who were plaintiffs in the lawsuit. It also includes a $3-million payment to be allocated among the Florida Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and public hospitals in Florida.

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