Iowa medical board charges former cardiology director with harmful practices

A former cardiology director has been charged by the Iowa Board of Medicine with professional incompetency and engaging in harmful and misleading medical practices, the Sioux City Journal reported April 29.

Giovanni Ciuffo, MD, a heart surgeon and former director for cardiovascular and thoracic surgery of Sioux Falls, S.D.-based MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center, is accused of engaging in a practice that is harmful or detrimental to the public, professional incompetency, and making misleading, deceptive, untrue or fraudulent representations in the practice of medicine and surgery, according to a board statement of charges filed April 20. The allegations that led to these charges have not been made public record, the report said.

However, allegations of his actions while at MercyOne have been listed in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed in August by MercyOne's former cardiovascular service line director, Cynthia Tener. She claimed in the lawsuit she was fired for reporting safety and malpractice concerns about Dr. Ciuffo to the hospital's ethics committee. According to her suit, Dr. Ciuffo performed risky procedures on patients without proper consent, performed an excessive number of add-on procedures and falsified paperwork. She has not listed Dr. Ciuffo as a defendant in her lawsuit.

Dr. Ciuffo has 20 days to answer and request a continuance for the May 22 scheduled conference. He now lives in Nevada and his Iowa medical license is due to expire May 1, 2024, according to the report.

"MercyOne stands by our cardiac services program, and our commitment to safe, quality care is steadfast alongside our commitment to the fair and valued treatment of colleagues, physicians and providers. As this is a Board of Medicine inquiry, we are unable to provide further comment," Michaela Feldmann, MercyOne regional communications lead, said in an emailed statement to the Journal.

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