The federal judge handling a $296 million settlement between the government and Guidant Corp. has ordered a presentence investigation report on the matter.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank rejected the settlement reached by the U.S. Justice Department and Arden Hills-based Guidant, now part of Boston Scientific Corp., over charges that the company concealed crucial safety information about its heart defibrillators from federal regulators.

At the time, Frank noted that a presentence investigation report would be useful in determining an appropriate probationary sentence and whether there would be any "unintended consequences" affecting Boston Scientific, a Natick, Mass.-based medical technology company that bought Guidant for $27 billion in 2006.

On Tuesday, Frank ordered the U.S. Probation Office to prepare a report that addresses issues he highlighted when he rejected the plea.

Frank wrote in April that the plea was not in the "best interests of justice" and that it fails to serve the public interest. He suggested that Guidant/Boston Scientific pay restitution -- perhaps to Medicare, the federal insurance program for the elderly. Or, he wrote, Guidant/Boston Scientific could contribute to a charitable cause.

In a letter to the court last week, Guidant consented to a presentence investigation and said it is "exploring methods to address the other concerns raised by the court" and is "committed to trying to resolve them."