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Relator's Attorneys Comment on AtriCure/DOJ Settlement
Date:2/2/2010

' Office of the Inspector General, and the FDA Office of Chief Counsel.

Sanford Wittels & Heisler and Grant Morris represent the relator in the case against AtriCure, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The complaint charges that AtriCure violated the Federal False Claims Act by using illegal kickbacks and an off-label marketing campaign to induce physicians and hospitals to perform AtriCure's costly inpatient cardiac surgical ablation procedures over standard, and more effective, outpatient catheter ablation procedures. As a result, the Medicare program has faced substantial increased costs from AtriCure's unnecessary and expensive procedures. "The misuse of medical devices has the potential of exposing patients to dangerous procedures and taxpayers to payment for unwarranted claims against Medicare," said Tim Johnson, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas. "This settlement demonstrates the government's commitment to maintaining safe and affordable health care for its citizens."

"AtriCure has done the right thing by settling this case before an onslaught of negative publicity surrounding the DOJ investigation," said David Sanford, co-lead counsel in the matter against AtriCure. Specifically, the complaint alleges that AtriCure enticed hospitals to purchase its products by promoting the spread between Medicare reimbursement for AtriCure's surgical ablation procedure and the relatively low cost to the hospital itself. AtriCure further provided physicians and hospitals with kickbacks, including free equipment; price discounts; free advertising, marketing, and referral services; and extensive training for surgeons performing AtriCure procedures. "Th
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SOURCE Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP
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