A federal jury recently indicted a Texas anesthesiologist who allegedly took part in health care fraud. Founder of a popular anesthesia care service, the defendant’s image has since been removed from the website. If convicted on any one of the 17 counts of health care fraud, he may have to contend with some serious consequences.
According to the indictment, the anesthesiologist supposedly submitted fabricated medical and procedure records to several insurance companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has also been accused of telling others that he was present for procedures that never took place, and then having them create bills to be submitted to the insurance company. It is believed that roughly $5 million of $8 million that he received for claims could be from fraudulent claims.
The anesthesiologist has maintained his innocence and asserted that he has no intention of pleading guilty. It was noted that he was never accused of medical malpractice or involved in any other incidents over the course of his 32 years in the medical field. He is also a well-known philanthropist to his local community.
A single health care fraud charge can mean a fine of $250,000 as well as up to 10 years in a federal prison. In some instances, those convicted of committing fraud can even be ordered to pay restitution. While facing 17 separate counts, this Texas anesthesiologist has more than just his personal image on the line. Federal charges often require that careful attention be paid to the details of the charges and any related evidence in a timely manner, in order to determine the most appropriate course of action to take. Like charges at the state level, defendants facing federal charges can either negotiate a plea deal or choose to fight the charges to the end of trial court proceedings.
Source: crimeblog.dallasnews.com, “Update: Dallas anesthesiologist, indicted on 17 counts of health care fraud, to plead not guilty”, Robert Wilonsky, May 20, 2015