Excela paid back $2 million for stent surgeries
By Richard Gazarik
Published: Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Excela Health reimbursed the federal government nearly $2 million in Medicare payments for cardiac stent procedures performed at its Greensburg hospital between 2009 and 2011, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh.
The settlement was reached in July, but Excela was prohibited by the Justice Department from releasing the terms until the government made it public Thursday, said Jen Miele, vice president of communications and marketing at Excela.
Excela CEO Robert Rogalski said government regulators were “firm and fair” in their investigation after the health care system alleged that some of the stent procedures were unnecessary. The case was investigated by officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the Medicare program.
“We value transparency as an institution. We were aware of the situation, we investigated, we self-reported, and Excela believes that was an important factor in resolving the issue,” Rogalski said.
“Since our disclosure, Excela's quality improvements have resulted in a national accreditation of our cardiac catheterization laboratory, which we were the first in the state to receive,” he said. “Our commitment to maintaining that quality is unwavering.”
The settlement stems from the submission of reimbursement claims for cardiac stent procedures performed by cardiologists Dr. George BouSamra and Dr. Ehab Morcos, Excela officials said. At the time, both physicians were employed by Westmoreland County Cardiology and had privileges at Westmoreland Hospital, where the procedures were performed.
Stents are small mesh tubes implanted in arteries during catheterization procedures to widen arteries that are clogged by plaque.
Excela hired independent experts to review Bou Samra and Morcos' cases in which it was believed plaque buildup was not significant enough to justify a coronary stent, hospital officials said.
The procedures triggered at a spate of medical malpractices lawsuits against the doctors and Excela Health, which are pending in Westmoreland County.
The physicians filed defamation suits in Allegheny County against Excela Health, Latrobe Cardiology, Mercer Health & Benefits, the American medical Foundation for Peer Review and Education, Rogalski and Dr. Jerome Granata, the former medical director for Excela.
Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘We Are FR’ fund going strong
- Police say Latrobe woman bought gun for boyfriend, who shot neighbor
- Scottdale to reconsider use of complaint forms
- Murrysville woman sues Giant Eagle over burns
- Graziani hired away from Latrobe as Penn Township’s manager
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- Retired postal worker picks $1M winner
- Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit
- Bridge work a priority for PennDOT in Westmoreland
- Hempfield church offers rides to shut-ins for Holy Thursday service
- Community turns out for Franklin Regional students’ return to class