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Midei, Catholic Health settle one stent suit

A settlement was reached in one of several lawsuits against the former St. Joseph Medical Center and former cardiologist Mark Midei over unnecessary cardiac stents.

An attorney for Catholic Health Initiatives, the former owner of the Towson hospital, declined to release the details of the settlement. Thomas V. Monahan Jr. of Gooddell, DeVries, Leech & Dann LLP in Baltimore said both sides had agreed to keep the terms confidential.

The malpractice case was brought by 21 plaintiffs. Trial started in Baltimore County Circuit Court on April 1.

The plaintiffs’ lead attorney in the case, Jay D. Miller of Miller Murtha & Psoras LLC in Lutherville, did not return calls for comment on Thursday.

“The trial that has been proceeding since April 1 has been resolved by agreement of the parties in a confidential settlement that included all former patients of Dr. Mark Midei who are represented by the Miller Murtha & Psoras law firm,” Catholic Health Initiatives said in a statement.

The controversy over Midei’s medical practices began in 2009 when the hospital suspended Midei and informed almost 600 patients that the once well-respected cardiologist may have performed unnecessary surgeries implanting cardiac stents.

The settled case, Bowman et al. v. Midei et al., is separate from two other lawsuits against the doctor and hospital that went before the Court of Appeals earlier this year. In March, the state’s top court decided to split claims of medical malpractice from fraud and conspiracy counts in the two lawsuits, brought by stent recipients Glenn L. Weinberg and Carl W. Sullivan.

Baltimore County Circuit Administrative Judge John G. Turnbull II had countermanded a ruling by Judge Nancy M. Purpura which bifurcated, or separated, the malpractice and fraud counts in the two cases. The Court of Appeals vacated Turnbull’s orders and remanded the two cases back to Baltimore County Circuit Court.

A slew of litigation against the hospital regarding the stents eventually drained the St. Joseph Medical Center financially. Since 2009, the hospital lost $3 million a month in revenue and experienced a drop in patient admissions.

Midei’s medical license was revoked in July 2011 by the Maryland Board of Physicians. The board found that Midei had lied to at least four out of five patients about the extent of blockage in their coronary arteries.

Catholic Health Initiatives sold the medical center to the University of Maryland Medical System in November. The hospital is now called University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center.

As part of the purchase agreement, Catholic Health Initiatives is still responsible for pending legal actions against the hospital.

Catholic Health Initiatives has reached several other settlements with the U.S. Justice Department in recent years.

The Colorado-based healthcare company agreed to pay $4.9 million in February to the Justice Department over reimbursements collected from Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care programs for admitting patients for unnecessary short stays.

In November 2010, Catholic Health Initiatives reached a $22 million settlement with the Justice Department over alleged illegal kickbacks to MidAtlantic Cardiovascular Associates and bills to federal benefit programs for the unnecessary stents.