DOJ charges ex-Tenet Healthcare exec with role in $400M fraud scheme

Six months after Tenet Healthcare reached an agreement to pay $514 million in penalties for an alleged kickback scheme, one of its former executives has been indicted for his part in the plan to pay bribes for patient referrals.

The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it has indicted John Holland, 60, of Dallas in his role in a $400 million scheme to defraud the government, Georgia and South Carolina Medicaid Programs, and prospective patients of Tenet hospitals.

Holland, the former senior vice president of operations for Tenet Healthcare Corporation’s Southern States Region and the former chief executive officer of North Fulton Medical Center Inc. in Roswell, Georgia, was charged with mail fraud, healthcare fraud and major fraud against the United States.

The indictment alleges Holland was involved in a scheme to pay bribes for patient referrals. which helped Tenet bill the Georgia and South Carolina Medicaid Programs more than $400 million and obtain more than $149 million in Medicaid and Medicare payments based on those patient referrals.

The scheme began in 2000, according to the indictment,  when Holland circumvented internal accounting controls and falsified Tenet’s books, records and reports to conceal payments of bribes and kickbacks in return for the referral of patients to North Fulton Medical Center Inc. and other Tenet hospitals, including Atlanta Medical Center Inc., Spalding Regional Medical Center Inc. and Hilton Head Hospital.

Holland pled not guilty to the charges during a court hearing, Reuters reported. His lawyer, Richard Deane, said Tenet’s agreement in August to settle criminal charges and civil claims, should have resolved this issue.

“Mr. Holland is not guilty and we now look forward to presenting this case to a jury," Deane said in a statement to Reuters.

But Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco said in a statement from the DOJ that “these charges underscore our continued commitment to holding both individuals and corporations accountable for their fraudulent conduct. We will follow the evidence where it takes us, including to the corporate executive ranks.”