The US Department of Justice may be getting ready to announce that hundreds of hospitals have settled with the government in response to a lengthy investigation over ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) overuse, according to an article by Lisa Schencker in Modern Healthcare.
“The U.S. Justice Department may announce in the coming weeks what may be the largest False Claims Act investigation and recovery ever in terms of the number of hospitals involved,” she reports.
The article quotes a lawyer who represented many of the hospitals during the investigation: “I believe there are over 500 hospitals that are the subject of the initiative, and I believe that the vast majority of them have reached settlements with the Department of Justice.”
Some settlements have already been disclosed. HCA will pay the government %15.8 million and Tenet Healthcare $12.1 million. News of the investigation first emerged in 2011.
In her article Schencker discusses the “broader potential implications” of the case. “It’s the first time the government has alleged violations of the False Claims Act on the basis of medical necessity on such a large scale,” according to one consultant quoted in the story. “It’s also the first time the government has undertaken such a large investigation based on a legal theory that holds hospitals accountable for the medical decision making of their staff.”