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In what experts say is a novel legal tactic to resolve hundreds of ongoing investigations simultaneously, the Justice Department is e-mailing hospitals across the country today with instructions to examine questionable implantable defibrillator surgeries on Medicare patients and estimate potential penalties under the False Claims Act. Hospitals face a wide range of potential damages. At up to $40,000 apiece, the implanted devices that regulate irregular heart rhythms are among the most expensive devices health care providers can bill Medicare for, and lawyers say hospitals with high volumes of such surgeries have been asked to provide information of hundreds of cases each (Carlson, 8/30).

www.kaiserhealthnews.org

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