Arkansas Heart Stent Attorney Discusses Allegations of Heart Stent Abuse
Arkansas heart stent attorneys note that Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a Colorado-based health organization that operates hospitals in 19 states, including St. Vincent Health System in Arkansas, recently agreed to a $16.5 million settlement with the federal government in a lawsuit filed against its Kentucky-based St. Joseph Health System subsidiary that included allegations of fraud and abuse with respect to the use of heart stents in patients.
If you have been injured, or if a loved one died as a result of complications from a heart stent, contact Attorney Group for Arkansas today. We can review your case free of charge, and at no obligation to you, and connect you with an experienced Arkansas heart stent attorney who can help you pursue claim.
Details of Settlement of Fraud and Abuse Claims
According to an online article by the Lexington Herald-Leader:
The government contended that doctors at [St. Joseph] performed unneeded heart catheterizations and bypass graft surgeries, and installed stents and pacemakers that were not justified by the patients’ conditions.
According to a Bloomberg article, a similar settlement with the federal government, in the amount of $22 million, was agreed to by a formerly owned CHI hospital in Maryland, the St. Joseph Medical Center. An infographic accompanying the article also notes that Arkansas, which includes the St. Vincent Health System, is one of the 20 hospital regions in the country with the highest reported usage of heart stents in patients.
Whereas the settlements do not include an admission of wrongdoing by the CHI hospitals, they also do not prevent injured patients from bring their own claims.
What is a Heart Stent?
Heart, or cardiac, stents are typically implanted into heart attack patients or those who have significant blockage in their arteries that can often lead to heart attacks and strokes. According to the National Institute of Health website:
A stent is a small mesh tube that’s used to treat narrow or weak arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to other parts of your body. [D]octors also may place stents in weak arteries to improve blood flow and help prevent the arteries from bursting.
Stents usually are made of metal mesh, but sometimes they’re made of fabric. Fabric stents, also called stent grafts, are used in larger arteries.
What are the Risks of Heart Stents?
Whereas heart stents can benefit patients who have suffered from a heart attack or have severely blocked arteries, risk associated with the device include blood clots, bleeding from anti-clotting medicine and blockages from coronary scar tissue. For this reason, a rule of thumb in the healthcare industry is that angioplasty and the use of a cardiac stent should not be considered unless an artery is 70% blocked.
What is the Basis of Fraud and Abuse Allegations?
According to Bloomberg:
At least 11 hospitals have settled federal allegations of charging for needless stenting and other misdeeds in the catheterization labs where the procedures are performed. Federal probes of stenting practices continue in at least five states. In Louisiana and Maryland, cardiologists went to federal prison last year for implanting the devices and charging for them without medical justification. A third doctor has agreed to do time in a plea bargain.
“There is a huge financial incentive to increase the number of these procedures,” said Jamie Bennett, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in Baltimore who handled stent investigations. “The cases we have seen to date are just the tip of the iceberg.”
Recipient of a Heart Stent? Contact an Attorney Today
If you or a loved one have received a heart stent from a hospital in Arkansas that you think may have been unnecessary, contact Attorney Group for Arkansas today. We will evaluate your case, free of charge, and help you determine if you have a claim. We can also connect you with an affiliated Arkansas heart stent attorney who can help you pursue your claim and, if necessary, file a lawsuit to recover damages on your behalf. The time to file a lawsuit is limited, so contact Attorney Group for Arkansas today.