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TheStreet Open House

Jeb Bush Joins the Tenet Gravy Train

A senior member of the Bush dynasty is about to get a large sum of money from a company with a history of ethical violations.

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Jeb Bush, the president's brother and former governor of Florida, is up for election Thursday as a director of troubled hospital chain Tenet Healthcare (THC). Assuming he's waved through, his pay in his first year would come to nearly $37,000 a day.

This is the same Tenet that had to pay $900 million to Uncle Sam last summer to settle charges that it had overbilled Medicare and Medicaid over many years.

Nine hundred million dollars.

The U.S. attorneys announcing the settlement accused the company of "fraud" and trying to "manipulate and cheat the system."

Mike Leavitt, the Health and Human Services Secretary appointed by Jeb's brother George, said the company had "fraudulently abused the Medicare program."

It's also the same Tenet that just paid $80 million to the IRS after an audit found it owed back taxes going back as far as 1995.

The company recently had to restate nearly five years of earnings statements after an investigation into its books.

And this is just the big stuff. Tenet's recent public filings read like a police blotter. One of its clinics in South Carolina performed 436 open heart operations without certification. The company is being sued in California by staff claiming they were systematically short-changed on pay and overtime, in breach of the state's labor code. Three former Tenet staff members, at a New Orleans hospital it owned, are under investigation for allegedly euthanizing four patients following Hurricane Katrina.

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