One of the state's largest hospital chains has agreed to pay $46 million to settle allegations that its method for billing for anesthesia services was false and misleading.

Sutter Health's decision to pay comes as a trial was scheduled to start this month.

The agreement stems from a complaint originally filed in 2009.

In addition to paying the fine, Sutter has agreed to make changes to its billing procedures.

They will now bill for anesthesia on a flat-fee basis rather than on time and more clearly disclosing its anesthesia charges and services to its patients, insurers and other payers.