Modern Healthcare - - Regional News -


Rush Uni­ver­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter agreed to pay $1.5 mil­lion to re­solve al­le­ga­tions that the 681-bed teach­ing hospi­tal en­tered into pro­hib­ited lease ar­range­ments for of­fice space pro­vided to two physi­cians and three prac­tices, the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment an­nounced. The set­tle­ment stems from a whis­tle-blower law­suit filed un­der the False Claims Act in 2004 by or­tho­pe­dic sur­geon Robert Gold­berg and June Beecham, a for­mer real es­tate di­rec­tor for the med­i­cal cen­ter. The Jus­tice Depart­ment con­cluded that sev­eral ar­range­ments vi­o­late the fed­eral re­stric­tions on physi­cian self-re­fer­ral known as the Stark law. The agree­ment stip­u­lates that Rush does not ad­mit any li­a­bil­ity or wrong­do­ing by set­tling the mat­ter. “Rush co­op­er­ated fully in this process,” the med­i­cal cen­ter said in a writ­ten state­ment. “Rush had ini­ti­ated ef­forts to cor­rect the prob­lems raised in the gov­ern­ment’s in­quiry be­fore the for­mal sub­poena was re­ceived. Be­cause Rush sat­is­fac­to­rily re­solved the is­sues un­der­pin­ning th­ese tech­ni­cal prob­lems, the gov­ern­ment will not re­quire Rush to have an on­go­ing cor­po­rate com­pli­ance agree­ment or cor­po­rate in­tegrity agree­ment.” Gold­berg and Beecham, whose law­suit also tar­gets other par­ties to the agree­ments, are set to share $270,760 from the set­tle­ment pay­ment.


Seventy-six pa­tients un­der­go­ing stereo­tac­tic ra­di­a­tion treat­ment be­tween 2004 and Septem­ber 2009 at CoxHealth for brain and other dif­fi­cult-totreat tu­mors re­ceived doses 50% higher than pre­scribed, ac­cord­ing to a Fe­bru­ary news release from the two-hospi­tal sys­tem. The over­ra­di­ated pa­tients rep­re­sent half the num­ber of peo­ple who were treated us­ing a spe­cific piece of equip­ment dur­ing that pe­riod of time, of­fi­cials said. “In the sim­plest terms, when the BrainLab stereo­tac­tic sys­tem was put into ser­vice in 2004, we be­lieve that the CoxHealth chief physi­cist re­spon­si­ble for ini­tially mea­sur­ing the strength of the ra­di­a­tion beam and gath­er­ing the data used to cal­i­brate the equip­ment chose the wrong mea­sure­ment de­vice,” said John Duff, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of hospi­tal op­er­a­tions. The wrong set­ting and sub­se­quent cases of ex­cess ra­di­a­tion were dis­cov­ered in Septem­ber 2009 when a new physi­cist was be­ing trained on the equip­ment, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials. CoxHealth has con­tacted or is con­tact­ing pa­tients who re­ceived the ex­cess ra­di­a­tion, and the hospi­tal will pay for all fol­low-up ex­ams, tests and care pro­vided as a re­sult of the in­ci­dents. “We also have re­ported this in­ci­dent to the na­tional hospi­tal ac­cred­i­ta­tion agency, the Joint Com­mis­sion,” Duff said. Mis­souri does not re­quire re­port­ing of ra­di­a­tion treat­ment over­doses.

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