MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Patients implanted with St. Jude Medical’s (NYSE:STJ) Riata defibrillator leads, which the medical device company recalled late last year, are finding themselves on the hook for hefty medical bills for replacing the defective wires.
St. Jude covers certain costs, as long as patients choose another St. Jude device to replace the defunct Riata leads, and insurance and Medicare provide a big chunk of the procedure, but some patients are finding themselves with thousands of dollars in travel and other expenses, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Minneapolis-based medical device giant has a program for helping patients with some expenses beyond the terms of the warranty, but those services may be underused by physicians who aren’t aware they exist.
The company told the Journal that it reviews patient claims that come its way on a case-by-case basis and offers reimbursement for "reasonable" bills. That could mean travel expenses and hotel bills in addition to procedure expenses.
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