Feds accuse UPMC surgeons of illegal billing, failure to properly obtain patient consent — 3 details

A federal lawsuit unsealed in June alleges that UPMC illegally billed CMS for cases in which surgeons neglected to obtain proper patient consent, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Three things to know:

1. Plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit include HHS, CMS and Diana Zaldonis, who is the former lead research coordinator in UPMC's Cardiothoracic Transplantation division. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in September 2019.

2. Ms. Zaldonis, who became lead research coordinator in 2006, alleges she was dismissed in January 2019 in retaliation for reporting that surgeons were having resident physicians, fellows, nurse practitioners and physician assistants obtain patient consent, without talking to patients themselves.

3. By billing for cases where surgeons had not personally obtained informed patient consent, the suit alleges, UPMC and the surgeons violated federal law, state law and UPMC policy. The plaintiffs want UPMC to be fined for damages, and Ms. Zaldonis is asking to be reinstated with back pay.

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