Sunday, June 30, 2024

Three Baylor heart surgeons allegedly billed multiple surgeries at a time by letting residents conduct some of the surgeries

Houston Chronicle:

[The three surgeons] allegedly left medical residents and fellows in operating rooms, “alone” and without patients’ knowledge, during critical moments of complex heart surgeries from 2013 to 2020 at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, according to a federal whistleblower lawsuit unsealed Monday. The practice allowed them to perform two and sometimes three heart procedures at the same time, then fraudulently bill the government for all the operations, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Texas. 

Their hospital and its academic affiliate, Baylor College of Medicine, were aware of the practice and supported them


An internal review of patient deaths found that at least four patients died under [one of the doctor]’s care during scheduled overlapping surgeries, according to the lawsuit. Officials were aware of broader problems, the lawsuit said. With each physician rushing from one surgery to the next, patients were under anesthesia for longer and suffered excessive internal bleeding that required re-opening their chest, the lawsuit said. Heart valve sutures came loose, the lawsuit said, and surgeries needed to be redone.