Two national physician associations are asking the Maryland legislature for more oversight of their members’ jobs.
After two Maryland cardiologists were implicated in healthcare fraud cases last year for allegedly implanting hundreds of unnecessary stents, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions and the Maryland chapter of the American College of Cardiology want the state’s General Assembly to take action.
The moves are unusual because medical associations frequently lobby for less government oversight. The groups said they’re seeing decreasing public confidence in their profession after the reports of fraud.
"Interventional cardiology is a big user of healthcare dollars, and we’re concerned that the public has a perception that we are often moved to treat patients on the basis of relationships with [drug and device] vendors," ACC Maryland chapter president-elect Dr. Mark Turco told the blog.
Turco and current ACC Maryland chapter president Dr. Sam Goldberg testified yesterday before General Assembly committees, advocating the Maryland Cardiovascular Patient Safety Act, which would mandate the use of state registries for medical procedures to more closely monitor cardiac catheterization practices.
The Maryland Hospital Assn. supports the the aims of the bill but believes that more research is in order before legislative action is taken. Maryland’s Health Care Commission is concerned about the cost of more cath-lab oversight.
The debate stems from investigations over unnecessary stent implants by former St. Joseph Medical Center cardiologist Dr. Mark Midei and former Eastern Shore hospital cardiologist Dr. John McClean, who could face up to 40 years in prison.
St. Joseph Medical Center and Midei were slapped with a class-action lawsuit over the case, and a local attorney filed 101 complaints against the two alleging conspiracy, negligence and fraud.
St. Joseph in November agreed to pay $22 million to settle a federal lawsuit accusing over the alleged unnecessary stent implantations, without making an admission of guilt.