Some money for AHERF victims
* A U.S. District Court judge and a federal bankruptcy judge in Pittsburgh last week approved a $93.7 million settlement that will partly repay the private and public victims of the 1998 bankruptcy of Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation. Creditors will receive $56 million, and $22 million will be returned to the successors of the charitable endowments tapped to support 14-hospital AHERF before its collapse. The remainder will be divided among a group of doctors and used for legal fees and fines. Seven insurers that provided officers and directors insurance to the system are to put up most of the settlement-about $56 million. The Orphan's Court in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will determine the money's distribution, but proceedings have yet to be scheduled.
Kickback case nabs fourth doc
* A fourth physician-cardiologist Andrew Cubria, 51-pleaded guilty last week in an ongoing federal investigation into a kickback conspiracy at now-shuttered Edgewater Medical Center, Chicago. As part of a plea agreement in which the government promised not to file felony murder charges against him, Cubria pleaded guilty to a single count of racketeering and admitted performing hundreds of medically unnecessary procedures, including angioplasties that led to two patients' deaths. According to court documents, Edgewater paid $500,000 annually for three years for TV advertising for Cubria's private practice in return for patient referrals, and it paid Cubria $48,000 from 1999 to 2000 to serve as medical director of its cardiac rehabilitation program, although Cubria did little or no work for that program. Edgewater's former management company, Bainbridge Management of Merrillville, Ind., awaits trial on a 57-count criminal indictment; three other physicians and a former Edgewater executive have pleaded guilty in the scheme.