The U.S Department of Justice is seeking to examine questionable implantable defibrillator surgeries on Medicare patients. Many hospitals nationwide have already received an email, including Southeast Michigan asking them to examine and identify the number of surgeries done improperly and to estimate monetary penalties under the False Claims Act.
These implanted devices, which cost up to $40,000 each, control irregular heart rhythms and are among the most costly devices that healthcare providers can bill Medicare for.
The Justice Department has been investigating unnecessary surgeries involving defibrillators for the past two years. According to Modern Healthcare, the False Claims Act allows investigators to collect up to triple the amount of actual damages, depending on the extent of the damage. However, they have also provided settlement resolutions for hospitals with such instances.