In a shocking Medicare fraud case, a trusted physician was recently indicted with prescribing unneeded treatments to patients in order to defraud Medicare.
According to the indictment, the doctor profited from millions of dollars fraudulently billed to Medicare. He is accused of giving many patients treatments they did not need, including chemotherapy.
As cancer patients and their families know, chemotherapy can be very traumatic. It can result in hair loss, nausea, and a host of other unpleasant side effects. Thus, it is extremely distressing for those who received it, based on this doctor's recommendation, to find out that they did not really need it. Naturally, those patient's and others want justice.
The doctor is now being held in a local Detroit jail on a bond of $9 million.
According to the FBI's investigation and the corresponding criminal complaint, the doctor prescribed chemotherapy along with other medical treatments for patients who either were not sick, or who were sick but actually needed different treatments. He then billed Medicare for approximately $150 million over a three-year period, with a substantial portion of that amount being fraudulent.
The details of the case were affirmed by nurse practitioners, an oncologist, and medical assistants that the doctor had worked with.
A patient in the doctor's care got chemotherapy even though they were in remission at the time. Others, considered to be end-of-life patients, were also told to have chemotherapy that was not medically necessary. Still others were given multi-year prescriptions for treating low platelet conditions with no drugs. Those patients should have been informed that there was a surgical alternative, but were not.
According to the FBI, some of the doctor's patients received intravenous immunoglobin therapy. Yet, according to a nurse practitioner who worked for the doctor, 38 of the 40 patients receiving it did not need it.
If convicted, the doctor faces a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. His lawyer claims that the accused is "devastated," and notes that the doctor had no criminal record before this case.
Medicare fraud legal cases affect people in all areas of the country, including Florida where many people are dependent on Medicare for their health needs. It is in everyone's interest to have Medicare fraud cases brought to a successful resolution.
Source: Time, "Medicare Fraud Horror: Cancer Doctor Indicted for Billing Unnecessary Chemo" Kate Pickert, Aug. 15, 2013