Hospitals Settle Unnecessary-Stent Case for $2 Million

Shelley Wood

December 12, 2012

GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania — The hospital group at the center of an "unnecessary-stenting" case in Pennsylvania has repaid the federal government nearly $2 million in Medicare payments.

As previously reported by heartwire , Westmoreland Hospital sent letters to 141 patients saying they had received unnecessary stents, although some patients, in fact, did not get stents but appeared to have undergone unnecessary angioplasties. The two interventionalists, Drs Ehab Morcos and George Bousamra, voluntarily resigned after hospital administrators first questioned the medical necessity of the procedures in 2010.

News reports, citing the US Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh, say that Excela Health had reached a settlement agreement with the feds back in July, but the terms were only made public last week [1].

An independent review of the cardiologists' work determined that Morcos and Bousamra had billed Medicare for procedures that were not medically warranted.

Excela says it has taken considerable steps to improve quality and appropriateness of procedures in its cardiac cath lab, including obtaining cath-lab accreditation.