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Tenet to Pay $5M in Suit

Tenet Healthcare, owner of 10 hospitals in Florida, has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that says Tenet hospitals in South Florida and several other states gave doctors indirect kickbacks to steer patients there, theMiami Heraldreports. 

It is a violation of the federal Stark law for hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid to give doctors an inducement to refer patients. The lawsuit says the Tenet hospitals gave doctors below-market rates on office leases in exchange for more referrals, which brought in an average of $11,000 in net revenue per admission.

Of the $5 million, about $1 million goes to pay legal and other costs, and another $1 million goes to Marc Osheroff, the landlord who blew the whistle.

A statement from Tenet said the company contested the allegations in court but settled in December to avoid the uncertainty and expense of litigation, the Herald reports.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.