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St. Joseph Medical Center Settles Stent Cases

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, May 7, 2013

A civil suit involving allegedly unnecessary stent procedures at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, MD has taken a significant step toward final resolution.

Last week 247 former patients agreed to an undisclosed settlement with the medical center, Mark Midei, MD, the cardiologist accused of performing the procedures, and Colorado-based Catholic Health Initiatives, the medical center's former owner.

The announcement in Baltimore County Circuit Court ended three weeks of testimony in a case that was expected to last three months. Efforts to reach Jay D. Miller, the Towson attorney representing the 247 former patients involved in the settlement, were unsuccessful.

The Baltimore Sun reports that about 45 civil suits remain. Plaintiffs in the civil suits contended that Midei overstated the seriousness of their conditions to "justify use of the stents, a procedure that increased his pay," according to the Sun.

The case involves stents put in place by Midei in 2008 and 2009. At that time Midei was employed by the 263-bed medical center as an interventional cardiologist. The allegations surfaced in 2009 as part of a whistleblower suit, which alleged that St. Joseph violated the Anti-Kickback Act, Stark Law and False Claims Act by paying illegal remuneration to Midei's former cardiology practice to induce referrals.

In 2010 St. Joseph notified about 600 patients treated by Midei that their stent surgeries may have been unnecessary. That same year the medical center agreed to pay $22 million to settle the kickback accusations, as well as for allowing Midei to place medically unnecessary stents in patients covered by federal health benefit programs.

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