A Southern California hospital run by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corporation will pay $1.41 million to resolve a lawsuit where federal prosecutors said the hospital knowingly charged Medicare for implanting unnecessary cardiac monitors.
“Providers that bill for unnecessary services and devices contribute to the soaring cost of health care,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division via release. “The Department of Justice holds accountable those providers that impose unnecessary treatments upon patients and pass the inflated costs on to federal health care programs.”
Former hospital employee Michael Grace sued the health system via the False Claims Act, which allows individuals to sue for false claims on behalf of the government and share in recovery of funds. Grace will receive $240,789 as his share following the ruling.
The Justice Department said the unnecessary cardiac monitors, called loop recorders, were implanted into patients between 2014 and 2017.
“Invasive medical procedures, such as implanting heart monitors, are not without risk,” said Timothy B. DeFrancesca, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services via release. “Therefore, when these procedures are medically unnecessary, as contended in this case, people in government health programs are put at needless peril, and taxpayers end up with the bill.”