Lawsuits Claim Modern Vascular Pushed Unnecessary Treatments for Profit
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Jun 25, 2021 in Medical Negligence
Modern Vascular opened its first clinic in Arizona in 2017 to treat patients with clogged arteries in an outpatient setting. Historically, procedures for unclogging arteries have always been performed in a hospital or surgical center. However, newer technology made it both possible and safe to provide this care in an outpatient clinic.
With over 34 million Americans suffering from diabetes, there is undoubtedly a need for this type of continued medical care to help patients with clogged arteries. Patients with certain underlying issues, such as diabetes, are especially at risk for this condition. If left untreated, it can lead to amputations of the foot and/or leg. Often diabetics are unable to get adequate medical care, which results in about 130,000 patients each year having to undergo an amputation for a toe, foot or leg.
Native Americans, Hispanics and African Americans have higher-than-average rates of diabetes and as such are particularly at risk for the disease - and amputations. Some claim Modern Vascular may have been specifically targeting these groups since they opened clinics in areas where large populations of African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans reside.
Is it About Good Care or Making a Profit?
During the last four years, Modern Vascular opened multiple vascular clinics in other cities and states. There are now a total of 14 outpatient endovascular clinics in seven states and multiple cities, including Albuquerque.
In a lawsuit filed against the facility in 2020, Modern Vascular claimed itself a “leading provider in the nation in caring for arterial disease.” In all, the endovascular network claimed it had performed more than 3,000 procedures. That said, various patients and doctors, as well as current and former employees, state that much of the procedures being pushed are unnecessary and only for the purpose of profitable gain.
According to a Searchlight news article, patient referrals are part of Modern Vascular’s business model for aggressively driving in new business. While referrals are not the singular issue, it seems a conflict of interest that many of the referring doctors are also financially vested in the success of the clinic. In fact, Searchlight obtained a recording of a call made by Yury Gampel, CEO at Modern Vascular, to a group of doctors in Texas. In this recording, Gampel described how these doctors could invest as little as $15,000 with an expected return of $80,000 in payments just in the first year.
What Does Modern Vascular Stand to Gain?
In addition to the financial support of their physician investors, the referrals bring in more patients. This, of course, translates to more opportunities for Modern Vascular to recommend and perform procedures before collecting what they are owed from insurance companies.
Little Oversight Paves the Way
Modern Vascular, and other outpatient clinics like them, can operate their businesses with considerably less oversight than hospitals, which are more strictly scrutinized. Hospitals, on the other hand, must adhere to multiple quality of care regulations. Additionally, the federal government keeps the public informed about a hospital by publishing statistics regarding its patient outcomes. Regular inspections also take place to ensure compliance. Even doctors must obtain certification and undergo a review before being allowed to work at any hospital.
Lawsuits Alleging Medical Malpractice Against Modern Vascular
Dr. Christopher Busken, a vascular surgeon with a small practice in San Antonio, Texas, said that he and his partners provided care for several patients who had received unnecessary procedures at Modern Vascular. Unfortunately, many patients treated at Modern Vascular have had problematic outcomes, later finding out their procedures may not have been necessary.
Some of the lawsuits currently pending against Modern Vascular include:
- Kae Barnes from Arizona, who at age 62 can no longer go hunting and fishing with her husband. Three years ago, she went to a Modern Vascular clinic near Phoenix complaining of weakness in her left leg. Three months later, after allegedly undergoing multiple unnecessary procedures, she had to have an amputation above the knee due to the damages caused by her care at Modern Vascular. Today, she wears a prosthetic that digs into her hip, causing her pain and preventing her from being able to bend over.
- Three other lawsuits that allege medical malpractice have also been filed by multiple other patients treated at clinics in New Mexico and Arizona.
Scott Brannan, chief of endovascular surgery at Modern Vascular, flatly denies these claims, telling Searchlight, “We don’t do unnecessary procedures, and there’s no inappropriate relationships.”