DeLuca to propose legislation to protect patients and taxpayers in response to federal lawsuit against UPMC surgeon

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, the Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, will introduce legislation aimed at protecting patients and preventing health care fraud following the recent federal lawsuit against UPMC and one of its top surgeons.

The government claims the surgeon booked multiple surgeries at the same time, submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid, and put patients at risk for serious harm.

“If true, these allegations show serious flaws in our health care system,” said DeLuca, D-Allegheny. “Patients facing complex surgeries should know that their doctor will be in the operating room for the duration of their procedure with complete focus on their medical care. The legislation I’m proposing would offer an extra level of protection for those patients and help ensure violators are held responsible.”

DeLuca said his legislation would include the following:

  • A proposed law to require surgeons to inform the patient or the patient’s representative if the surgeon plans to perform two or more surgeries concurrently.

  • A proposed Pennsylvania-version of the federal False Claims Act, to allow private citizens to sue a party that submits false claims to the state to incentivize whistleblowers and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent on legitimate claims.

  • Incentivizing health care workers to report when sub-par care is rendered during a surgery through a proposed law that would require them to anonymously report violations to a reviewer of the facility. The reviewer would investigate the claims and if warranted, refer them to the proper law enforcement agency or professional board.

DeLuca said he plans to introduce his legislation soon.