Opinion » Letters

Not surprised about Twin Cities' problems



As a 30-year veteran of the surgical department at the Tenet hospital, Twin Cities Community Hospital, providing anesthesia care to more than 30,000 patients during that time, I applaud the courageous nurses who have filed a suit against a corrupt corporation that should have been removed from our community long ago. I agree with the statements nurses have made in the recent article, “Twin Cities hospital nurses file labor complaints” (Oct. 6), regarding patient safety and could add my own list of allegations. Instead, I should point to the authority of Barron’s magazine in a Sept. 5 news article entitled, “Tenet Healthcare: ‘Persistent problems with fraud’ says Gimme Credit.” This article documents a mind-boggling more than $2.3 billion in penalties for fraud and other legal settlements in just more than a decade paid out by Tenet Healthcare.

Most recently, a settlement with the Department of Justice has Tenet Healthcare paying $514 million to settle allegations that its hospitals in Georgia and South Carolina paid kickbacks for obstetric referrals.

Barron’s states that according to Vicki Bryan with Gimme Credit, “Tenet’s deal is ‘just another in a long track record of troublingly persistent problems with fraud and patient care which have triggered massively expensive penalties—but no convincing remedy,’” and Bryan isn’t just concerned with illegal business practices when she adds, “Tenet’s serious problems with compliance and management oversight compound equally troubling issues with patient care.”

The New Times article ends with the sycophantic response of Twin Cities management, but does Barron’s hold any hope out for the patients or nurses of Twin Cities? Bryan concludes: “Tenet’s problems with its top management remains firmly in place with full board support, which suggests to us nothing will change—not even the platitudes when things go wrong.”

-- Stephen Mulder, MD - Templeton

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