A well-known Baltimore Hospital, St. Joseph Medical Center, recently agreed to pay $22 Million Dollars ($22,000,000.00) to settle claims against the U.S. Government (yes-the feds)- relating to allegations that it was involved in a kickback scheme with Mid-Atlantic Cardiovascular Associates.
The settlement agreement resolves claims under the False Claims Act and the Federal Anti-Kickback Act and the Stark Law. This settlement includes the reimbursement of funds the Baltimore hospital received for medically unnecessary coronary stent procedures performed by Dr. Midei when he left Mid Atlantic Cardiovascular and became a full time hospital employee. There are currently still over 100 lawsuits pending against St. Joseph’s.
To see the U.S. Department of Justice Press Release click here.
The legal showdown regarding these stent cases is going to be fascinating. The patients suing the hospital and Dr. Midei will likely be arguing that they are entitled to punitive damages because the wrongful actions were not just negligent, but they were also essentially an intentional tort-a battery-and a fraud upon the patients. While punitive damages are usually difficult to get in Maryland, this is a case where it is quite possible that punitive damages will be awarded to the victims. The seminal case on punitive damages in Maryland is Owens Illinois Inc. v. Zenobia, 325 Md. 420.
In this case, certain doctors hired counsel and brought suit under the qui tam whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. These doctors will most likely receive a portion of the $22 Million Dollar Settlement. If you are a medical professional and you are aware of improper kickbacks call us at (888) 213-8140 to discuss the possibility of bringing a whistleblower claim.
Congratulations to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Maryland’s Commercial Litigation Branch, as well as the private attorney representing the doctors. Thank you to the doctors themselves who had the courage to bring this injustice to light and will benefit all tax payers.