St. Louis Public Radio News
4:33 pm
Wed November 20, 2002

US Government Sues Two St. Louis Hospitals

St. Louis, MO – Federal lawsuits accuse two St. Louis
hospitals of wrongfully billing Medicare for surgeries involving once-experimental cardiac devices.

The Justice Department lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in St. Louis name Saint Louis University Hospital and Barnes-Jewish HospitaThey're accused of falsely billing Medicare for certain cardiac procedures from mid-1986 through late 1995.

The devices, including pacemakers and defibrillators, were considered experimental at the time of the billing and not properly reimbursable. Most of the devices since have been approved.

The health-care network that includes Barnes-Jewish says its providing such devices to Medicare patients was appropriate. BJC HealthCare also says its billing for the devices was consistent
with its understanding of Medicare billing regulations at the time.