U.S. Attorney’s Office launches investigation of Swedish neurosurgery unit

Swedish CEO Guy Hudson wrote in a memo to staff members Wednesday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is now among the agencies reviewing practices at the institute, based at the Cherry Hill campus in Seattle.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has launched an investigation of Swedish Health’s neurosurgery unit, adding a new layer of scrutiny to a distinguished institute that was recently the subject of stories in The Seattle Times.

Swedish’s interim CEO, Dr. Guy Hudson, wrote in a memo to staff members Wednesday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is now among the agencies examining practices at the facility.

“As with all regulatory reviews, we will cooperate fully to ensure that we are living our values and upholding the highest standards,” Hudson said in his message. In a statement to The Times, Hudson said the investigation will help Swedish understand the full extent of the issues “so we can quickly and thoroughly address them.”

A Swedish spokeswoman said she did not immediately have details about the scope of the federal inquiry, or whether it was a criminal or civil examination. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle declined comment.

The Seattle Times published an investigation of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute last month, exposing turmoil and a range of internal concerns about patient care. The Times documented concerns among staffers about how some surgeons juggled multiple operations at the same time. And patient-safety indicators showed the Swedish-Cherry Hill campus, where the neuroscience institute is based, lagging behind peer hospitals on some measures.

The internal concerns had emerged amid dramatic growth in the number of surgeries and billings at the institute in recent years. In 2015, the Swedish-Cherry Hill campus had the highest Medicare reimbursements per inpatient visit of any U.S. hospital with at least 150 beds.

Over the past few weeks, in the fallout from The Times investigation, Swedish CEO Tony Armada resigned, as did the Swedish Neuroscience Institute’s top surgeon, Dr. Johnny Delashaw. State health regulators also have launched an investigation into the practices at Swedish-Cherry Hill.

Hudson, who was appointed interim CEO after Armada’s departure, apologized to staff in an interview last week, saying leaders had failed to act quickly enough on the concerns…

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