Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pennsylvania cardiologists performed unnecessary procedures

A lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania Federal Court alleges that five cardiologists performed unneeded procedures in order to defraud Medicare of funds. The procedures took place from 2001 to 2005 and involved interventional procedures, cardiac surgeries and vascular surgeries on patients that were not in need of such treatment.

Though such a lawsuit does not directly concern medical negligence and malpractice claims, the patients on which such procedures were conducted were placed in danger of significant and unnecessary risk of harm. Many of the cardiologists that are accused of performing the unnecessary procedures were located in the Pittsburgh area.

The medical centers named in the lawsuit include University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Hamot Medical Center, Medicor Associates and an affiliate called Flagship Cardiac. A number of individuals received kickbacks from this practice and also referred patients to various facilities for procedures that they may or may not have required. Suspicions grew when a doctor at Medicor noticed that certain medical providers were performing an unusually high number of surgical interventions on patients.

Though the doctors and medical providers in question will, if found guilty, be ordered to reimburse Medicare for funds that were defrauded, this does not in itself compensate those patients that were potentially or actually injured by the performance of unnecessary procedures. Such a circumstance would require the filing of a medical malpractice suit with the assistance of an attorney to make certain that patients injured will be compensated.

If the allegations are correct, we have had an unfortunate number of doctors in the Pennsylvania area that have not taken their allegiance to the Hippocratic Oath seriously. In any case, it certainly seems that they did not put the interests of their patients ahead of profit.

Source: The Heart.org, "Cardiologists accused of defrauding Medicare by performing unnecessary cardiac procedures," by Michelle O'Riordan, Jan. 23, 2012

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