Cape Cod Healthcare accused of ‘unethical practices’ in lawsuit against doctor

HYANNIS — Former cardiologist and medical director at Cape Cod Hospital filed a lawsuit against Cape Cod Healthalleging he was fired after speaking out about the hospital’s allegedly unethical practices that favored profit over patient care.

Dr. Richard Zelman, 64, has been an affiliated cardiologist and interventional surgeon with Cape Cod Hospital since 1990. He was hired full-time in 2006 and became medical director of the hospital’s Heart and Vascular Institute in 2018.

According to a lawsuit filed in Barnstable Superior Court On Tuesday, Zelman claims his job was terminated in September after he spoke out against the hospital’s allegedly unethical practices.

Dr. Richard Zelman, showed him on October 3, 2017, and the cardiac team at Cape Cod Hospital saved a woman's life using an interventional procedure he started doing a few years ago, called TAVR, transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

The lawsuit says that in 2019, hospital CEO Michael Lauf did not allow patients with Medicare or Medicaid insurance to use “Sentinel devices”, instead prioritizing patients whose insurance reimbursed the hospital at higher rates. Sentinel devices filter out stroke-causing debris during a transcatheter aortic valve replacementaccording to the trial.

Although Lauf ultimately gave in to Zelman’s concerns, according to the lawsuit, Zelman faced retaliation for his actions, including an investigation into his performance.

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