Court papers filed on Midei's behalf suggest that the allegations against him have been inflated by malpractice attorneys. And he has many fans who remain loyal, describing him online as a "brilliant cardiologist" who saved many lives. His friends have created the Web site, http://www.markmidei.com, to support him, and a Facebook page titled "Dr Mark Midei Saved a Loved One" has 195 members.
In February, Hammen asked state health agencies to investigate the situation at St. Joseph along with patient care at other hospitals to determine whether Maryland residents are — or were — at risk for receiving "unnecessary invasive procedures that could jeopardize their health."
The agencies — which include various divisions within the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Patient Safety Center and the Board of Physicians, among other groups — plan to hold their first coordinated group meeting this week to discuss strategy and preliminary data.
Members are expected to focus on developing policy and legislative changes to prevent future physician abuses across disciplines.
"One of the things we're thinking about, if you're looking at patient safety, is looking beyond what's already been in the news," said Wendy Kronmiller, the DHMH chief of staff.
Investigators are expected to report their findings to the legislature by September.
"Obviously, there were a number of procedures that the state has in place, and, for whatever reason, they failed to detect what happened at St. Joe's," Hammen said. "I think it's time we reviewed those processes and procedures to make sure that this doesn't occur in the future."
Baltimore Sun reporter Robert Little contributed to this article.
St. Joseph Timeline
January 2008: Dr. Mark Midei leaves MidAtlantic Cardiovascular Associates to become a full-time employee of St. Joseph Medical Center, scuttling MidAtlantic's $25 million merger deal with MedStar Health and prompting MidAtlantic's then-CEO to tell him, "I will spend the rest of my life trying to destroy you personally and professionally."
June 2008: St. Joseph, MidAtlantic and MedStar's Union Memorial Hospital receive subpoenas from the federal agency that investigates Medicare fraud.
February 2009: St. Joseph CEO John K. Tolmie and two other hospital executives step aside to "avoid a conflict of interest" during the federal investigation. They later resign.
May 2009: A patient of Midei's, later identified as a hospital employee, lodges a complaint alleging that Midei performed inappropriate medical procedures, sparking an internal review at the hospital. Midei is suspended and later loses his privileges to practice medicine at St. Joseph.
July 2009: St. Joseph reaches an undisclosed agreement with the federal government to settle any potential claims related to its dealings with MidAtlantic, and later says the agreement is with the U.S. Department of Justice.
December 2009: St. Joseph begins sending letters to 585 of Midei's patients telling them they might have had unneeded stents implanted in their coronary arteries.
January 2010: Hospital officials acknowledge the issues related to Midei after inquiries from The Baltimore Sun, and note that they are no longer claiming that the federal investigation is not focused on patient care.
May 2010: State regulatory documents indicate that Midei was able to avoid St. Joseph's peer-review process because, as a department head, he chose which cases would be reviewed.
June 2010: State regulators reviewing billing records determine that other doctors in Maryland have suspiciously high rates of placing stents.