February 3, 2014

Investigation continues into heart surgeries

London hospital taking preventative measures

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — This week’s agreement for Saint Joseph London to pay $16.5 million to the government is just one step being taken to resolve claims of unnecessary procedures at the hospital.

In a statement released on Wednesday, officials with Kentucky One Health — the owning corporation for Saint Joseph facilities — outlined some of the actions in place to ensure that patient well-being remains the hospital’s top priority.

The press release states the London hospital reached an agreement with federal and state governments to settle “all potential civil claims brought, or could have been brought” by the U.S. government regarding “the past relationship with some cardiologists who no longer practice at the hospital.” The $16.5 million settlement, which did not implicate any violation of the law by Saint Joseph London, was so done, according to the press release, “in order to avoid the expense and uncertainty of prolonged litigation, and to allow the hospital to move forward.”

“We are committed to providing the communities we serve with safe, high quality health care performed with the highest of integrity,” said Greg Gerard, president of Saint Joseph London. “We are pleased to have reached this agreement so that we can move forward.”

The settlement also included the London hospital signing a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which allow the OIG to review the hospital’s procedures over the next several years. The reviews will monitor the hospital’s compliance with regulations governing health care. Saint Joseph London has already implemented several of those activities specified in the agreement, according to the press release.

“We will continue to collaborate with the Department of Health and Human Services as it follows our work in the coming years,” Gerard added.  “The past few years have demonstrated the resilience and commitment of the team at Saint Joseph London. Now that this chapter has closed, we are eager to move forward.”

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