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Hospital Pays $41 Million to Settle Claims of Unnecessary Heart Procedures

A hospital in northeast Kentucky agreed to pay one of the largest settlements to date in the federal crackdown on unnecessary cardiology procedures. King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland will pay the U.S. $41 million to settle charges under the False Claims Act that it overpaid physicians so they would refer heart patients to the hospital for lucrative procedures. The incentives drove “hundreds” of unnecessary cardiac catheterizations and stentings at the facility from 2006 to 2011, according Kerry Harvey, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

King’s Daughters is at least the 12th hospital since 2006 to settle federal allegations that it billed public health programs for needless stents and related misdeeds. Stents, the tiny coils inserted into arteries with catheters to prop open coronary blockages, can save lives of heart-attack victims. Their use in stable patients is in dispute among medical researchers.