PITTSBURGH (Erie News Now) – The United States is suing UPMC, its physician practice and the chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery for healthcare fraud, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.
The defendants are accused of knowingly submitting hundreds of false claims for payment to Medicare, Medicaid, and other government health programs over the past six years.
Allegations from a former UPMC physician led to the two-year investigation.
Cardiothoracic surgery chair Dr. James Luketich, who regularly performs as many as three complex surgical procedures at the same time, failed to participate in all the “key and critical” portions of his surgeries, according to the lawsuit. He is also accused of forcing patients to endure “hours of medically unnecessary anesthesia” as he moved between operating rooms and to other patients.
The practices violated regulations, which prevent the defendants from performing and billing for “concurrent surgeries,” the complaint said.
Luketich is accused of violating the standard of care and patients’ trust and heightening the risk of serious complications, according to the complaint.