Former CEO of Atlanta Medical Center added to federal kickback case

Another former Tenet Healthcare executive has been criminally charged in a federal healthcare fraud case that now accuses two former CEOs of Atlanta area hospitals of paying kickbacks and bribes in exchange for patient referrals.

William Moore was the CEO of Atlanta Medical Center

William Moore, the CEO of Atlanta Medical Center from 2001 to 2014, was accused in a 13-count federal indictment this week of fraud, falsification of books and records, wire fraud, bribery and conspiracy.

Another former Tenet executive, John Holland, was previously indicted in the alleged scheme. Holland is the former CEO of North Fulton Hospital. The new indictment adds additional counts to the charges pending against Holland, who also served as a Tenet vice president who oversaw operations of the chain’s hospitals located in the South.

Tenet Healthcare is a for-profit hospital chain that operates across the country.

The former executives quickly denied the charges, which come more than a year after Tenet Healthcare’s plea agreement to settle both criminal and civil charges against the company over its treatment of uninsured Hispanic women who delivered babies at Tenet hospitals.

The new indictment charges the executives individually in the alleged scheme to use illegal tactics to attract patients whose care would be covered by a federal program.

“We are extremely disappointed with the Government’s decision to move forward with criminal charges,” said Brian McEvoy, who is representing Moore, in a statement.  “The indictment involves historical contracts that were openly reviewed throughout the company.”

The new indictment also adds Edmundo Cota to the case. From 1999 to 2010, Cota was president and CEO of Clinica de le Mama, which operated the clinics that told patients they had to use Tenet hospitals, according to the allegations. The clinics predominantly served undocumented Hispanic women in Georgia and South Carolina.

Jamila Hall, one of the attorneys representing Holland, criticized the federal government’s latest move in the case. “These new charges change nothing about Mr. Holland’s position and our belief that there is no case here,” Hall said. “Mr. Holland looks forward to his day in court to prove he is not guilty.”

The Tenet chain and two of its subsidiaries agreed last year to pay $513 million to resolve charges that Tenet hospitals paid kickbacks to get patient referrals. The two Tenet subsidiaries previously operated Atlanta Medical Center and North Fulton Hospital. WellStar Health System bought the two hospitals in a deal that was finalized this spring. WellStar is not implicated in the case.

According to the federal actions, the clinic told pregnant women they could only deliver at a Tenet hospital, which was false.  Tenet acknowledged that it acted improperly in its own statement about the settlement.

The statement from Moore’s attorney says hospitals contracted with the clinics for services that the pregnant women needed and were actually performed. The statement also said that in spite of the fraud allegations, Moore did not benefit financially from the relationship between the hospital and the clinics.

“Mr. Moore is not guilty and we look forward to presenting this case to a jury at trial,” McEvoy said in the statement.

 

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