Cincinnati Ohio—Christ Hospital will pay millions to settle a federal whistleblower lawsuit that alleges that the hospital’s acclaimed cardiac-care center ran an illegal kickback scheme. A retired cardiologist, Harry Fry, filed the lawsuit in 2003 against Christ Hospital and the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati. The suit alleges that doctors were given improper financial incentives for generating increased revenues for the hospital. Specifically, cardiologists were allocated time at the Heart Center, housed within Christ Hospital, based on the number of coronary arterial bypass procedures and catheter lab revenues that they generated for Christ Hospital during the previous year.
The Justice Department later joined the suit in 2008, arguing that there were 100,000 Medicare or Medicaid claims filed by the Heart Center between 1999 and 2004 that were a violation, each with a penalty of up to $11,000. Nevertheless, the hospital and doctors maintain that many of those claims were for “$8 EKGs” and that simply assigning time did not encourage doctors to refer patients to Christ Hospital.
While the hospital denies any wrongdoing, both sides are finalizing settlement documents, with a settlement amount that could reach $100 million. Since the lawsuit was filed in 2008, Christ Hospital acquired the assets of Ohio Heart and Vascular Center and withdrew from the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.