September 17, 2014

Elyria
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EMH to pay $4.4 million over unnecessary medical procedures

ELYRIA — EMH Elyria Medical Center and the North Ohio Heart Center have agreed to pay the federal government $4.4 million to settle a lawsuit over unnecessary cardiac procedures performed at the facilities between 2001 and 2006.

The settlement was announced today by U.S. Attorney for Northern Ohio Steven Dettelbach.

Staff at the facilities “performed angioplasty and stent placement procedures on patients who had heart disease but whose blood vessels were no significantly (blocked) to require the particular procedure at issues,” a news release said.

Many of the patients were Medicare patients and their medical bills were covered by the federal government.
“Most doctors act responsibly. These few didn’t,” Dettelbach said in the release. “Patient health and taxpayer dollars have to come before greed.”

A Dartmouth Medical School study had determined that Elyria had a rate of angioplasty and similar procedures that was four times the national rate. Although the hospital said it had reviewed its practices it has long denied wrongdoing or to reveal the results of its study.

The news release said that Kenny Loughner, a former manager of EMH’s catheterization and electrophysiology laboratory will receive $660,859 of the settlement because of his status as the whistleblower who brought the lawsuit.

Read Saturday’s Chronicle for more on this story.