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DOJ Intervenes in TN Stent Fraud Lawsuit

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, June 14, 2011

That means that although the DOJ will not pursue those charges, Dr. Deming may continue those parts of the lawsuit on his own.

In a statement issued to the Jackson Sun, a spokesperson for the Regional Hospital of Jackson said "Regional Hospital of Jackson is pleased that the U.S. chose not to intervene in the portion of the relator's lawsuit which named the hospital and a former administrator. The hospital remains committed to providing high-quality, appropriate health services for patients and the community."

The DOJ's interest in the case may reflect renewed interest on the part of Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services in uncovering and pursuing fraud in the Medicaid and Medicare programs, especially in terms of stent usage.

In December 2010 the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance issued a staff report on cardiac stent usage at a Maryland hospital. The report looked at the case of a doctor who reportedly implanted nearly 600 potentially medically unnecessary stents from 2007 through mid-2009. The report found that the questionable implants cost the Medicare program $3.8 million during that period.

That report noted that between 2007 and 2009, the Medicare Part A program paid an estimated $11.1 billion for cardiac stent procedures.

The DOJ would not comment on its involvement in the lawsuit. The government will file its complaint within 60 days, according to a statement filed by the U.S. Attorneys' Office.


Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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