The high rate of heart procedures at the hospital was the subject of a front-page article in The New York Times in August 2006. Medicare patients in Elyria, Ohio, where the hospital is located, were receiving angioplasties at a rate nearly four times the national average, a figure that prompted questions from insurers and raised concerns about overtreatment.
The concerns included whether many patients in Ohio and elsewhere were receiving expensive and inappropriate medical treatments because of the high fees the procedures generated.
The main whistleblower in the lawsuit described how doctors put pressure on nurses and staff to falsify complaints of chest pain in the medical records. Further, he alleged that cardiologists would bring back the same patient multiple times for stenting of individual coronaries, rather than just do them all at once, allowing the practice to bill 2,3,4 times for the same patient. A neat little trick, indeed.
These assholes, along with stories like this, compromise the integrity of an entire profession. We wonder why the general public perceives physicians as too often concerned with optimizing profits above all else. I did not see anything about sanctions from the State Medical Board but I would hope disciplinary measures are forthcoming. The head of the cardiology group and a spokesman from the hospital both deny any wrong doing.