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UPMC, cardiothoracic surgery head under fire over billing practices

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 08, 2021
Operating Room

Luketich leads teams of highly skilled surgeons and other clinicians through complex procedures that often last over 12 hours. He is one of UPMC’s highest sources of revenue and brings the healthcare provider tens of millions of dollars annually, according to Pittsburgh Action News.

The allegations were brought forth in 2019 by Dr. Jonathan D'Cunha, a former UPMC physician, under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act. The provision allows private parties to sue on behalf of the U.S. for false claims and share in any recovery. It also allows the U.S. to intervene and take over a lawsuit, which it did in this case.

Jonas Johnson, head of UPMC’s Surgical Services Oversight Committee, reprimanded Luketich in January 2015 for leaving a patient under anesthesia and not being able to be found for an hour, according to the complaint. He warned him again later that year that he could only work on one Medicare patient at a time. Luketich did not abide by these warnings and continued to schedule and perform concurrent surgeries.

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