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The nation's most expensive hospital chain just discovered how it feels to get a major price break.

Tenet Healthcare

(THC) - Get Tenet Healthcare Corporation Report

-- a company blasted for its high-priced treatment -- got a bill of its own reduced this week. The company, which has seen its cash flow diminish in recent quarters, scored a big court victory that will save it more than $100 million at a time when money is particularly tight.

The company now owes John Bedrosian, one of its co-founders, $148 million instead of $253 million. It benefited from a court ruling that nearly wiped out a massive interest payment that it had previously been ordered to make to the former executive.

Tenet shares jumped 2.4% to $14.75 on the decision.

Bedrosian has spent the past decade fighting Tenet for stock payments he claims he was denied. He originally won a $9.2 million judgment but later scored the larger award -- including $112 million in interest -- after he continued to battle the company. Tenet expressed relief Wednesday that the judgment had been reduced but still maintained that the payment is too high.

"We are gratified that the court has corrected the interest calculation," said Gary Robinson, Tenet's deputy general counsel. "We continue to believe, however, that the evidence in this case does not justify the huge award, and we intend to seek review of the appellate decision by the California State Supreme Court."

The penalty reduction came just hours after Moody's lowered Tenet's credit rating over concerns about the company's diminishing funds. The downgrade -- which sent Tenet's credit deeper into junk territory -- specifically cited the big court judgment as a troubling drain on cash. Moreover, Moody's warned that Tenet faces mounting obligations at a time when its business is suffering.

"Moody's believes that new operating issues and recently disclosed potential claims on cash result in a higher level of uncertainty regarding Tenet's ability to fully fund its cash needs with current sources of liquidity," the agency wrote Tuesday. "If the company's available liquidity becomes more constrained -- either due to operating issues or cash payouts -- the ratings could be lowered further."

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Moody's cited bad-debt expense, labor costs and tough managed care negotiations as specific challenges. Fulcrum analyst Sheryl Skolnick had raised similar concerns when reviewing Tenet's latest quarterly results earlier this month.

Skolnick pointed to Tenet's cash flow per admission as "the lowest in the industry." And she warned that things may only get worse.

"Higher California staffing ratios ... could create a very bad

first quarter for volumes and profits," wrote Skolnick, who recommends selling Tenet shares. "This ... could have very serious adverse consequences for cash flows."

Moody's has also cited mounting litigation -- including 1,400 potential lawsuits against a single Tenet hospital -- as a significant concern. And it cautions that it has so far excluded future government penalties from its analysis of the company.

Tenet is under intense government scrutiny for allegedly profiting from unnecessary surgeries. It remains the target of multiple investigations and recently was

singled out in a study by the California Nurses Association for its pricing excesses.

"Tenet Healthcare Corporation dominated the Top 100 most expensive hospitals by an overwhelming degree," the study found, "placing 64 hospitals on the list and occupying the top 14 listings -- all but one of which were in California."

Skolnick, for one, questions whether the company will survive in the end.

"We think that THC likely will have to be broken up," she wrote. "We are increasingly concerned that THC has limited options open to it to turn the situation around."