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Retired Cardiologist Awarded $23.5M Settlement – Whistleblower Suit from 2003 Christ Hospital Cincinnati

Posted May 24 2010 11:56am

Back in October of 2008 I made a post about the 2 new hot words in healthcare and it just keeps coming around as these 2 items seem to generate money over and image over all throughout healthcare.

This is an interesting case as you can read below the government found nothing to complain about, however for his efforts the retired doctor is still being rewarded.  The hospital since the filing of the lawsuit now owns the the Ohio and Vascular Center, which was the area investigated for kickbacks and referrals to the hospital.  BD 

Retired cardiologist Harry Fry will get $23.5 million from Christ Hospital as part of a $110 million settlement of a whistleblower suit he filed in 2003.

Fry charged that the hospital was improperly assigning panel time in its coveted Heart Station based on how much money those doctors generated for the hospital by referring patients.

“I think he does feel vindicated,” Fry’s lawyer, Glenn Whitaker, said. “He complained about this as early as 1996 and nothing was done about it.”

Fry, 68, an East End resident, left the hospital in 2000 after a dispute. He declined to comment on the settlement.

Christ’s cardiology operations are the most lucrative part of the hospital, generating as much as one-third of the hospital’s total surplus per year, documents introduced in the case showed.
In one year, profits generated by Ohio Heart doctors totaled more than $25 million, the government said.

But the incentive alone makes each of more than 100,000 Medicare or Medicaid claims filed from the Heart Station from 1999 to 2004 a violation of the False Claims Act, with a penalty up to $11,000 each, the government charged.

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