Whistleblower claims hospital Medicare fraud 

A former northwestern Pennsylvania cardiologist says in a lawsuit a hospital improperly paid doctors who performed unnecessary procedures on patients, including two who died.

The suit filed this month by Dr. Tullio Emanuele also says doctors at a cardiology practice in Erie performed unnecessary angioplasty procedures then overbill Medicare.

According to the suit Harmot Medical Center had sham contracts with doctors at Medicor Associates that amounted to kickbacks in exchange for referrals.

The suit alleges two patients died as a result of unnecessary surgeries and could have been treated with medication.

Emanuele is suing under federal whistleblower rules.

UPMC took over Harmot last year. A health system official said it does not comment on pending litigation. A spokeswoman also declined to comment on behalf of Medicor.

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