Unnecessary Medical Procedures Draws Senate Inquiry

A Baltimore surgeon has drawn the scrutiny of the US Senate Finance Committee after he allegedly performed over 500 unnecessary cardiac stent surgeries. Dr. Mark Midei had financial motivation to perform the stent surgeries since he was paid millions of dollars in salary and perks to promote and implant the stents manufactured by Abbott Laboratories.
In one document released by the Senate Finance Committee, an Abbott executive wrote an email boasting that Dr. Midei had implanted 30 stents in one day in 2008. The hospital at which Midei performed the surgeries is also under investigation. The investigation into Midei and St. Joseph Hospital seems to be the tip of the iceberg, according to the NY Times.
“Last month, St. Joseph agreed to pay a $22 million fine to settle charges that it paid illegal kickbacks to Dr. Midei’s medical practice, MidAtlantic Cardiovascular Associates, in exchange for patient referrals; the hospital did not admit wrongdoing. St. Joseph said in a statement Friday that it now conducts monthly random reviews of stent cases “to assure such a situation cannot occur again. . .The case has had wide repercussions. Over the past year, St. Joseph has told hundreds of Dr. Midei’s patients that they did not need the expensive and potentially dangerous stents that the doctor inserted because their arteries were not as obstructed as he had claimed. Now, state health officials are investigating other local cardiologists who inserted a suspiciously high number of stents, which are tiny wire mesh devices inserted to prop open clogged arteries in the heart.”