Corporate Compliance

Judge declares mistrial in Tenet kickback case

Compliance Monitor, February 23, 2005

A federal court judge declared a mistrial in a criminal case against Tenet Healthcare's Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in San Diego and its former chief executive officer, the Associated Press (AP) reported February 18. The jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Alvarado its former head had been accused of "using relocation agreements to bribe doctors for patient referrals," the AP reported. A report in Dallas Business Journal said the allegations involved 99 physicians accepting some $15 million in kickbacks for referring their patients to the San Diego facility.

"The fact that the jury struggled with this case demonstrates how much confusion there is regarding the laws that govern physician relocation agreements," E. Peter Urbanowicz, Tenet's general counsel, said in a release posted on the company's Web site. "We hope that because there is no reason to believe any other jury would produce a different result, the prosecutors will decide there is no point in retrying this case."

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