Here We Go Again:  Cardiologist Accused of Unnecessary Procedures
Written by Editor   
Friday, November 27, 2015 08:57 AM

Not all cardiologists have learned the seemingly obvious lessons from the overuse scandals from the past decade.  A scandal involving a cardiologist who is accused of enriching himself by performing hundreds of medically unnecessary procedures on his patients in a small town in Indiana. 

A "star" at his local hospital for 30 years. "He and his partners not only ran the most popular cardiology practice ... but were also the highest-paid heart doctors in the state in terms of Medicare reimbursements, records show.” The trio of medical doctors were paid nearly $5 million in combined Medicare payments in 2012, making them the three most reimbursed cardiologists in Indiana." One of the partners drove "a blue Porsche with the license plate 'Tick Doc.'"

A local Osteopathic Doctor who had been the medical director of the hospital's electrophysiology lab "raised concerns to a hospital executive in 2005 about whether [the] physicians were qualified to implant the devices, he said he was shut down.  The response to me was, 'I understand your concern, but we have a very large producer here who wants the privilege,' " Dixon said last year in a deposition in a lawsuit. He said he was later told to stop reviewing implants performed at the hospital.

Lawyers defending the partnership said that the high billing was a reflection of an older and sicker population, but "when investigators ... studied rates per capita for procedures that must be treated -- a hip fracture, for instance — the little town was below average in the state."

Another electrophysiologist, again, an Osteopathic Doctor has been working with the malpractice lawyers after treating one of the patients who had a pacemaker-defibrillator device that was clearly unnecessary and that was harming her. He stated that 11 of 15 former patients who he has seen had had unnecessary procedures performed on them.  293 of the patients are suing the cardiologist.