The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced the sentencing of a doctor in connection to a healthcare fraud scheme. The agency stated in a press release that the court sentenced the physician to 33 months imprisonment after he plead guilty to a single count of health care fraud conspiracy. The court finalized and announced sentencing on January 27, 2021.
In addition to the prison time, the court also required the physician pay $24.3 million in restitution, forfeit an additional $75,000 and agree to three years of supervised release upon completion of his sentence.
What were the details of the allegations?
This case is another involving allegations the physician prescribed medically unnecessary compounded medications. The prosecution claimed to have evidence the physician signed preprinted prescription forms without establishing a patient-doctor relationship with the recipient. The government further accused the doctor of getting $20 to $30 in remuneration for each prescription, leading to more than $7 million in government losses and $24 million in losses to health care benefit programs.
Why should other physicians care about this case?
The case, and the sentence, show that the government is aggressive in pursuing and holding medical care providers accountable for allegations of healthcare fraud. Wrongly billing Medicare and Medicaid can result in allegations of healthcare fraud. The government will investigate these allegations and, if evidence is available to support the claims, pursue criminal charges.
What can doctors do if accused of similar errors?
Take the allegations seriously. Even allegations of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud can result in serious penalties, as outlined above. Defenses are available and prompt action can help to better ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.