WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – Almost 500 hospitals have agreed to pay the United States more than $250 million in settlements related to the implantation of cardiac devices.

There were 70 total settlements involving 457 hospitals in 43 states. All cases were related to implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) devices that were implanted in Medicare patients that allegedly violated Medicare coverage requirements. The implantation of these devices allegedly violated the False Claims Act.

“While recognizing and respecting physician judgment, the department will hold accountable hospitals and health systems for procedures performed by physicians at their facilities that fail to comply with Medicare billing rules,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said. “We are confident that the settlements announced today will lead to increased compliance and result in significant savings to the Medicare program while protecting patient health.”

An ICD is an electronic device that can be implanted near the heart and connected to it. Its purpose is to detect and treat life-threatening heart problems. When it detects too fast a rhythm, or fibrillation, it delivers shock to the heart to restore the heart’s normal rhythm. Only certain patients qualify for an ICD covered by Medicare.

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