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Photo: Zach Sheldon / The Daily Pennsylvanian

The University of Pennsylvania Health System paid $845,000 to settle a lawsuit over “improperly billing Medicare” for unnecessary cardiovascular procedures, according to a United States Attorney’s Office press release.

In the Jan. 19 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the office announced that UPHS settled the lawsuit over improper billing for unnecessary procedures that involved the use of stents, which are small tubes that open narrow arteries. The procedures were performed by two cardiologists that, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office statement, are no longer employed by the University.

“We cooperated fully in this investigation and are confident that the issue has been resolved,” Susan Phillips, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at UPHS said in an email statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian regarding the improper billing by UPHS cardiologists.

UPHS had voluntarily disclosed the unnecessary billing to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, initiating the proceedings that led to the settlement. Phillips did not specify how UPHS would plan to avoid similar issues in the future.

This was not the first lawsuit faced by UPHS. On Jan. 27, Healthcare Finance News reported that the UPHS was named in a lawsuit over “alleged infections tied to heater-cooler units” in the cardiovascular surgeries of two different patients. On May 6, 2016 The Daily Pennsylvanian reported on a $75,787 settlement over separate improper Medicare billing allegations.

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