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News: Former London cardiologist pleads guilty to fraud over heart stents

From the Lexington, KY Herald-Leader, June 5:

Former Saint Joseph London cardiologist pleads guilty to fraud over heart stents

A former Saint Joseph London cardiologist pleaded guilty to health care fraud for submitting claims for unneeded heart stent procedures, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Sandesh Rajaram Patil, 51, admitted Tuesday to lying about the severity of some patients’ conditions to receive payment for heart procedures. Patil practiced at St. Joseph’s in London, which has repaid the government $256,800 for Patil’s false claims in 2009 and 2010.

Patil is the third cardiologist nationwide and first in Kentucky to be prosecuted for health care fraud related to heart stents, which are metal tubes used to improve blood flow in arteries, according to a news release from Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Patil reached an agreement with the U.S. attorney to serve 30 to 37 months, or just over three years, in prison, but the agreement has to be approved by a judge. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 27.

“Dr. Patil violated the public’s trust in physicians,” Harvey said. “Both patients and the entities that pay for medical services trust that our physicians will accurately and honestly assess a patient’s medical condition. We will aggressively pursue any physician or provider that breaches this trust and places their own financial well-being ahead of the well-being of the patients.”

A patient must have at least 79 percent blockage of an artery and symptoms of blockage for stents to be medically necessary, the news release said. Patil admitted that “he placed stents in arteries that had substantially less than 70 percent blockage.


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