Aria Health Agrees to Pay $3 Million to Settle Variety of Allegations
Aria Health has agreed to pay $564,700 to resolve claims that a cardiologist performed unnecessary invasive procedures on inpatients and outpatients at its Torresdale campus between October 1, 2012 and April 15, 2013, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Aria self-disclosed that incident as well as two others.
Aria became aware of complaints regarding the cardiologist in January 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Aria hired an independent review organization to examine the treatment he was giving to patients. After the review, the doctor agreed to cease performing invasive cardiac procedures at the end of February 2013 and agreed to terminate his employment with Aria as of April 15, 2013.
Aria also agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve alleged violations that compensation to some physicians was in excess of fair market value. It concerned the salaries of a cardiac thoracic surgeon who worked for Aria from 2012 to 2014.
“Aria self-reported the cardiac thoracic surgeon contract to DOJ based on a concern that his $1.4 million annual compensation was outside fair market value,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
A third issue also was resolved — the purchase of a trademark name that happened in the course of the acquisition of an orthopedic group by Aria in December 2012. Aria paid $3.5 million dollars for the right to use the trademark in perpetuity but an internal Aria investigation found that the trademark payment was inflated above fair market value, according the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Patients have a right to medical treatment that is ethical and necessary and not influenced by a physician’s strategy to increase his compensation,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. “In this case, Aria recognized a problem, reported it to the government, and voluntarily made internal changes to its operations.”
Aria Health released a statement saying that it is “committed to rigorous compliance efforts.”
“Through ongoing compliance review, Aria identified these matters and voluntarily reported them to the government. Aria cooperated completely in bringing these matters to resolution,” the statement said. “While Aria did not admit liability in these settlements, it was in the best interest of the organization to resolve the matters short of litigation and move forward. At Aria, patient care has and will always be our top priority.”
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