Saint Joseph Health System Inc. has agreed to pay $16.5 million to resolve allegations that Saint Joseph Hospital violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims to the Medicare and Kentucky Medicaid programs for a variety of medically unnecessary cardiac procedures, the Justice Department announced today. Saint Joseph Health System operates numerous hospitals statewide, including Saint Joseph Hospital, which is based in London, Ky.
“Hospitals that place their financial interests above the well-being of their patients will be held accountable,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery. “The Department of Justice will not tolerate those who abuse federal health care programs and put the beneficiaries of these programs at risk.”
The government alleged that doctors working at Saint Joseph Hospital performed numerous invasive cardiac procedures, including coronary stents, pacemakers, coronary artery bypass graft surgeries and diagnostic catheterizations, on Medicare and Medicaid patients who did not need them, and that the hospital was aware of these unnecessary procedures. These doctors were affiliated with Cumberland Clinic which is a physician group that entered an exclusive arrangement with Saint Joseph Hospital in 2008 to provide cardiology services to the hospital’s patients. Cumberland Clinic is owned by two London-based cardiologists, Satyabrata Chatterjee and Ashwini Anand.
The settlement also resolves allegations that Saint Joseph Hospital violated the federal Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute by entering into sham management agreements that financially benefitted Chatterjee and Anand as an inducement for Chatterjee and Anand to direct more Cumberland Clinic patients to the hospital.
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