Doctors Who Steal

I have been writing lately about medical ethics, which are sometimes more ignored than followed.  The following are instances of doctors being greedy and trying to steal from insurance companies or from Medicare and Medicaid.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you earn or what is your level of education.  Money can be tempting and some doctors, for a variety of reasons, find the temptation to be irresistible.  And remember, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Former 'Planet Money' co-host Jacob Goldstein talks about inflation and the Fed : NPR

  • A Michigan doctor has been charged in a scheme along with a pharmacist to create fake prescriptions for specialty drugs that could be diverted and sold.  The scheme allegedly netted the participants over $7,000,000.
  • Telemedicine doctors in the Pittsburgh area were involved in a kickback scheme in which they were paid for ordering cheek swabs that were processed at the laboratory of the scheme organizer.  Medicare was billed over $60,000,000 for the unnecessary tests.
  • A Maryland doctor was convicted of defrauding Medicare and health insurers by submitting false claims for over $15,000,000 for Covid testing at laboratories he owned.
  • A Tennessee doctor was convicted of prescribing narcotic drugs that he knew his patients did not need for medical purposes and in spite of signs that they were addicted.  He was put on probation by the medical board for overprescribing narcotics, but as soon as his probation was lifted, he resumed overprescribing.
  • A suburban Chicago doctor has agreed to pay Medicare over $750,000 in restitution as part of a settlement of a civil action against him for illegal billing practices.   When he removed multiple moles from a single patient on a single office visit, he would bill Medicare for each mole and represent that each was removed on a different day.
  • Doctors from Missouri and Texas have agreed to pay the Federal Government for accepting over $525,000 in kickbacks from laboratories to order testing to be performed at the labs.  They have also agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of others involved in the scheme.
  • A Kansas chiropractor has pleaded guilty to money laundering in connection with the government’s Covid loan programs.
  • A Chicago area pain doctor pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud and has been sentenced to prison.  She signed prescriptions for narcotics to be given to her patients when she was not in the office and had not examined them.  Upon her return to the office, she billed Medicare for the examinations that never took place.
  • A dermatologist who operates clinics in southeast Tennessee and north Georgia has agreed to pay the government $6,600,000 to resolve claims that he committed Medicare fraud by falsely claiming procedures performed on a single day were performed on multiple days, and charging for multiple office visits that never occurred.

This list can go on and on for pages and pages.  The dollars involved are astronomical.  The point of this post is simply to remind everyone that doctors are human beings like the rest of us.  They are subject to the same temptations and have the same frailties as the rest of us.  You should keep this in mind when dealing with doctors.  Just because a doctor says it does not make it true.  Be trusting, but not too trusting.  Use your common sense.  Get a second opinion before agreeing to any major surgical or other type of procedure.

 

Posted in Doctors, Fee for Service, Health Care Costs, Health Insurers, Medical Costs, medical ethics, Medicare, Pharmacies |