DOJ settles seven cardiac qui tam suits

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Oct. 17 that it settled for a total of more than $5.4 million with seven hospitals alleged to have improperly billed Medicare for medical procedures involving experimental cardiac devices, bringing to more than $40 million the total settlements collected in the nationwide cardiac devices false-claims litigation.

DOJ also announced that the government has intervened and filed complaints against four other hospital defendants.

The suits allege that between 1986 and 1995, the hospitals unlawfully charged federal health care programs for medical procedures using experimental cardiac devices that had not been proven safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration in violation of the False Claims Act.

The case originally was brought by whistle-blower Kevin Cosens, a former medical device salesman, against more than 100 hospital defendants. Cosens will receive more than $1 million of the latest settlements.