Leslie Turk

LGMC puts Patel civil matter to rest for $1.8 million

by Leslie Turk

Lafayette General Medical Center has closed a controversial chapter involving the cardiology practice of Dr. Mehmood Patel for $1.8 million, far less than the $7.4 million Our Lady of Lourdes paid last year to settle civil lawsuits brought by Patel's former patients. In all, hundreds of patients joined the suits against Patel, who is facing federal health care fraud charges for allegedly performing unnecessary procedures on more than 75 patients. Patel did most of his work at Lourdes.

LGMC interim CEO Patrick Gandy last week called the settlement a fair way to conclude the litigation involving patients treated by Dr. Patel at his facility, allowing patients and LGMC to "put a close to the matter and move forward."

Earlier this year LGMC agreed to pay the federal government $1.9 million to settle claims it defrauded Medicare, Medicaid and other federal and state health plans from 1999 to 2003 by billing them for medically unnecessary procedures performed by Patel. Lourdes settled with the feds in August 2007 for $3.8 million.

Federal officials say Patel's actions caused complications and serious harm to some patients who were subjected to unnecessary angiogram, angioplasty and stent procedures. Patel's trial is set for August. He is accused in a 2006 indictment of billing Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers $2.5 million in unnecessary procedures on patients between 2001 and January 2004.