Nearly 300 patients have filed suit against cardiologist Arvind Gandhi and two other doctors for performing medically unnecessary procedures. Our team of medical malpractice lawyers examines this lawsuit and patients who may have been affected by similar doctor schemes.
Dr. Gandhi and his colleagues at Cardiology Associates of Northwest Indiana in Munster have denied any wrongdoing. Cardiology has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, with several high-profile cases filed by federal officials. Cardiology tends to be a big money-maker for hospitals, since Medicare and private insurances reimburse at significantly higher levels for procedures.
The Indiana Medicaid program and the U.S. attorneys office have also launched an investigation into this case.
Cardiology Associates of Northwest Indiana was the most popular cardiology practice in Munster, and the doctors there were the highest-paid cardiologists in the entire state. The three doctors named in this suit (Dr. Wail Asfour and Dr. Satyaprakash Makam) received about $5 million in Medicare payments in 2012 alone.
There are many different federal and medical guidelines that dictate when it is necessary for a patient to undergo cardiac surgeries. For Medicare patients, arteries must be 70% blocked to justify placing a stent, for example.
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For more than 30 years, Gandhi ran his practice from Community Hospital, becoming a wildly popular star physician. Patient lawsuits also name Community Hospital, saying the unnecessary surgeries were performed with the authority and consent of the facility. Community is a non-profit hospital, and Gandhis practice was a large revenue generator.
In 2005, Dr. Mark Dixon expressed concern to a hospital executive over whether Gandhi and his colleagues were qualified to implant defibrillators. His concerns were brushed off because Gandhis practice was too profitable to restrict. He was later told to stop reviewing implant surgeries done at the hospital. In 2008, a whistleblower lawsuit was filed against Gandhi and the hospital accusing them of billing for unnecessary defibrillator and pacemaker implants. It ultimately settled for about $50,000.
Another Community Hospital physician, Dr. Scott Kaufman, has repeatedly expressed concern about Gandhi and his practice over the last 20 years. He has seen 15 of Gandhis former patient, 11 of which did not need the surgeries they received.
Gandhi retired in 2014. It will take several years for the hundreds of cases filed against him to weave through the Indiana legal system. In that state, each claim must be first studied by a medical review panel, which can take up to two years.
Kentucky Hospital Settles for $41 Million
Ashland Hospital Corporation, a hospital system in eastern Kentucky, recently agreed to pay more than $40 million to settle allegations that it billed for unnecessary procedures. Doctors for the system falsified patients medical records, saying patients arteries were more blocked than they actually were, to justify the surgeries.
The hospital system is also facing 120 private lawsuits filed by patients who received the unnecessary stents and catheters.
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The medical malpractice attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will continue to update this blog about these cardiology cases. If you or someone you love underwent unnecessary surgeries or were otherwise seriously injured by medical negligence, contact our firm for a free consultation. We accept clients nationwide, and we never charge anything unless we win you a settlement or verdict.