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CHS Defends Medicare Admissions Practices

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 28, 2011

Community Health Systems Inc. defended its admitting practices for Medicare beneficiaries on Thursday with a 109-page rebuttal of allegations raised by rival Tenet Healthcare Corp. in a lawsuit this month.

"We believe that the analysis prepared Tenet Corp. contains contrived statistics that lead to faulty and irresponsible conclusions," Wayne T. Smith, president/CEO/chairman of CHS said in a conference call with the media and financial analysts on Thursday afternoon.

"The analysis and allegations contain unreliable and inaccurate statements and represent a direct attack on the ethics and judgment of our 16,000 physicians and 85,000 employees. At the end of the day the ultimate decision to admit a patient into a hospital is based on a physician's judgment and medical necessity," Smith said. "Be assured we will defend our reputation. We will dedicate whatever resources are required to reach an ultimate resolution to these matters. And we will work tirelessly to restore any erosion of confidence or trust that may have been caused by these accusations."

Smith declined to take questions about the Tenet suit during the nearly two-hour conference call, which also detailed the Franklin, TN-based hospital chain's first quarter earnings.   
Tenet, which is fighting a hostile takeover attempt by CHS, said in a statement that it was not impressed by CHS' defense. "Nothing we heard today from Community Health diminishes our confidence in our analysis or allegations. We plan to vigorously pursue our claims in court," Tenet spokesman Rick Black said in a media release.

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