Tenet Healthcare Hit By Cyberhack

The cybersecurity incident affected Tenet last week, causing a temporary disruption to some services at the giant hospital chain. Also: Rite Aid must pay Humana $123 million for high drug price claims; another conviction in Mississippi’s pain cream fraud scheme; the antitrust suit against Sutter Health and more.

Modern Healthcare: Tenet Investigating Cybersecurity Incident That Led To ‘Temporary Disruption’

Tenet Healthcare, one of the US’s largest for-profit hospital chains, is recovering from a “cybersecurity incident” that occurred last week, the company said Tuesday. Dallas-based Tenet’s investigation into the incident is ongoing. Tenet identified unauthorized activity on some of its information-technology applications last week, the company said in a notice posted online. Tenet suspended access to the affected applications and “executed extensive cybersecurity protection protocols” to restrict further unauthorized access, the company said. (Kim Cohen, 4/26)

In legal news —

Stat: Rite Aid Ordered To Pay Humana $123 Million For Inflating Pharmacy Claims

Rite Aid was ordered by an arbitrator to pay nearly $123 million to Humana, one of the largest health insurers in the US, for an alleged scheme in which the retailer sought reimbursement for prescription drugs at inflated prices. Many of the nation’s largest drug store chains and health plans have recently gone to court to settle such disputes. Last month, several Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in different states filed a lawsuit against Walgreens Boots Alliance. Two years ago, a different group of Blue Cross and Blue Shields plans filed a complaint against CVS Health and its pharmacy chain. (Silverman, 4/26)

Mississippi Clarion Ledger: MS Pain Cream Scheme: Last Of Fraud’s ‘Central Architects’ Sentensed

One of the last men to plead guilty in a massive fraud involving high-priced pain creams and other medications was scheduled Tuesday to 10 years in prison — the maximum sentence possible. Mitchell “Chad” Barrett, 55, formerly of Clinton, pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to commit money laundering in a $182.5 million health care fraud, from which he personally profited more than $25 million. Barrett was ordered by US Senior Judge Keith Starrett to repay the fraudulently obtained money, including more than $25 million outlined in a forfeiture order. (Beveridge, 4/26)

Stat: Federal Antitrust Case Against Sutter Health Headed For Appeal

The long-running federal antitrust lawsuit against Sutter Health is getting a second wind after attorneys filed a notice of appeal Tuesday seeking to revive the case. The lawsuit appeared doomed in March when a San Francisco jury unanimously sided with the California health system at the conclusion of a month-long trial. The verdict cleared Sutter of claims that it engaged in anticompetitive business that drove up healthcare costs in Northern California by more than $400 million. (Bannow, 4/26)

In other news from the health care industry —

Bay Area News Group: Thousands Of Nurses Continue Strike As Bargaining Continues Between Stanford, Packard And Nurses’ Union

About 5,000 nurses at Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital remained on the picket line Tuesday as leaders began the first day of negotiations in the early morning since the start of the strike. Union leaders and hospital officials were tight-lipped about the closed-door bargaining, but nurses say they are prepared to strike indefinitely until a reasonable contract is agreed upon. On Monday, Stanford Health Care and Packard Hospital canceled appointments, postponed tours and sent chemotherapy patients to sister hospitals as the thousands of nurses walked off the job Monday, forcing hundreds of traveling nurses to scramble to meet patient demand. (Toledo, 4/26)

Modern Healthcare: Telehealth Didn’t Lead To Unnecessary Care In 2020, Study Says

Telehealth generally didn’t lead to duplicative care in late 2020, according to a study published Tuesday. Patients treated for most acute conditions via telehealth were as likely or slightly more likely to need a follow-up visit as those who sought in-person care to start, the study in JAMA Network Open found. Telehealth patients with chronic conditions were less likely to need follow-up care. Telehealth patients with acute respiratory infections were more likely to require a follow-up visit than in-person patients, but this could reflect COVID-19-related concerns, the researchers said. (Goldman, 4/26)

Stat: The Doctor Who Is Trying To Bring Back Surprise Billing

If Daniel Haller gets his way, surprise medical bills will be back in full force. Haller, an acute-care surgeon on Long Island in New York, is suing the federal government over the No Surprises Act, a new law that protects people from receiving unexpected bills from out-of-network doctors. He argues the entire law should be thrown out because it violates his constitutional rights to bill patients directly for any “balance of the fair value” of his services, according to his complaint. It’s a stunning position, given how popular the consumer protections are — the law is one of the few health care policies that politicians in both parties brag about, and even doctors groups whose members have taken a hit from the changes don’t outright oppose it . (Herman, 4/27)

KHN: Call It ‘Mexicare’: Fed Up With High Medical Bills, A Family Crosses The Border For Health Care

The Fierro family of Yuma, Arizona, had a string of bad medical luck that started in December 2020. That’s when Jesús Fierro Sr. was admitted to the hospital with a serious covid-19 infection. He spent 18 days at Yuma Regional Medical Center, where he lost 60 pounds. He came home weak and dependent on an oxygen tank. Then, in June 2021, his wife, Claudia, fainted while waiting for a table at the local Olive Garden. She felt dizzy one minute and was in an ambulance on her way to the same medical center the next. She was told her magnesium levels were low and was sent home within 24 hours. (Andalo, 4/27)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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