DOJ Intervenes Against Tennessee Cardiologist

On June 13, 2011, it was announced that the U.S. Department of Justice would intervene in a False Claims Act suit against Eli Hage Korban, M.D., and two Tennessee hospitals, Jackson-Medicine Country General Hospital and Regional Hospital of Jackson.  The suit is before Judge Bernice Bouie Donald, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Jackson Division.

The claims against the defendants allege fraudulent billing and overuse of medical services.  More specifically, the qui tam suit alleges that the CEO of both hospitals “chose to ignore blatant overutilization of cardiac medical services, including but not limited to cardiac sonography, scintigraphic stress imaging, angiography, angioplasty, and stenting by Korban, shielding same from any scrutiny by the hospitals’ clinical quality improvement mechanisms.”  Specific to Dr. Korban, the Complaint alleges that he ordered “numerous unnecessary diagnostic studies at the defendant hospitals” which included transthoracic echocardiography, scintigraphic stress imaging, and transesophageal echo.  It is also alleged that Dr. Korban ordered these tests on elderly nursing home patients and subsequently ordered their transport to the defendant hospitals via ambulance for allegedly unnecessary PCI procedures, diagnostic coronary angiography, and other coronary peripheral interventions.

The suit was brought by Wood M. Deming, M.D., a cardiologist at Regional Cardiology Consultants in Jackson, Tennessee.  Under the False Claims Act, Dr. Deming will share in a portion of the proceeds recovered by the government.

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