The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey entered an $8.3 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department resolving allegations that the institution paid cardiologists kickbacks in order boost the volume of catheterizations and cardiothoracic surgeries at its 444-bed University Hospital.
Settlements do not constitute admissions of wrongdoing or liability. “This settlement agreement marks the conclusion of a matter involving misconduct at UMDNJ that arose years ago in a much different culture,” according to an e-mailed statement from UMDNJ spokesman Jeffrey R. Tolvin. “We are demonstrating to our many internal and external constituencies that UMDNJ has been transformed.”
According to a Justice Department news release, declining numbers of the cardiac procedures in 1995 threatened the hospital's Level 1 trauma-center funding and accreditation, and to solve the problem, community cardiologists were hired through part-time contracts that the government alleges amounted to conduits for kickbacks for referrals.
The government previously reached settlements with six of the cardiologists implicated in the allegations, and two others pleaded guilty to criminal embezzlement, the Justice Department said.