Cardiology practice, hospital settle suit for $4M

A hospital and cardiology practice in Michigan will pay $4 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit over allegedly unnecessary catheterizations.

A lawsuit filed by Julie A. Kovach, MD, claimed that the owner of Jackson Cardiology Associates in Jackson, Mich., and its employees performed medically inappropriate cardiac procedures at the hospital Allegiance Health, also in Jackson. The procedures included invasive catheterizations at Allegiance Health based on orders from Jackson Cardiology Associates owner Jashu Patel, MD.

The procedures were covered through Medicare and Medicaid, which under the False Claims Act allows the Justice Department to seek damages.

According to court documents, Patel improperly interpreted findings on nuclear stress tests when making the orders in up to three-quarters of the cases reviewed; physicians performed other office-based medically unnecessary tests; and patients were treated with medically unnecessary peripheral stents on an outpatient basis. The case was kept under seal while the government investigated. 

Patel and Jackson Cardiology Associates agreed to settle the case for $2.2 million. In a release, Allegiance Health said it disagreed with the government’s assertions and admitted no wrongdoing. The hospital settled the case for $1.8 million.