The University of Pennsylvania Health System announced yesterday that it had reported a cardiologist to federal authorities, state regulators, and patients for performing unnecessary stent procedures at a system hospital. The physician, Vidya Banka, 71, was an independent cardiologist with medical privileges at Pennsylvania Hospital (he has since given up those privileges). Outside cardiovascular experts reviewed a sample of patients who received stents by by Dr. Banka over the last five years, and they concluded that medical tests did not reveal significant blockages in the heart blood vessels for approximately 20 patients. Penn took extraordinary steps in response to the finding: it notified the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia; it also notified the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine, which licenses and disciplines physicians; and it offered patients who may have received stents inappropriately the services of a Penn cardiologist at no cost, or have their records transferred to a physician of their choice.
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