A hematologist-oncologist has pleaded guilty to administering unnecessary chemotherapy to patients in order to fraudulently bill the government.
Farid Fata, MD., 49, of Oakland Township, Michigan, admitted in September to prescribing and administering aggressive chemotherapy to unsuspecting patients who did not require the treatments. The doctor provided procedures, such as chemotherapy and intravenous iron, to increase his billings to the Medicare program, according to an announcement by the U.S. Justice Department.
Dr. Fata pleaded guilty to 13 counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks and two counts of money laundering. His alleged scheme enabled the physician to submit more than $200,000 million in false Medicare claims over a six-year period.
Fata also admitted to arranging financial kickbacks from other health facilities in exchange for referring patients to those health centers. The doctor allegedly used the proceeds of the health care fraud at his medical practice to promote additional health care fraud, in which he administered unnecessary and expensive positron emission tomography (PET) scans on patients, according to the Justice Department. He billed a private insurer for the unnecessary PET scans.
Officials with the Justice Department said Dr. Fata’s exploitation of patients for his own profit caused victims to suffer physically and emotionally.
“At a time when they are most vulnerable and fearful, cancer patients put their lives in the hands of doctors and endure risky treatments at their recommendation,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie R Caldwell said in a statement. “Dr. Fata today admitted he put greed before the health and safety of his patients, putting them through unnecessary chemotherapy and other treatments just so that he could collect additional millions from Medicare. The mere thought of what he did is chilling.”
In related news, a federal grand jury has charged an Ohio doctor and three others with health care fraud for performing unnecessary CT scans on patients.
Family doctor Peter Tsai, 44, is accused of falsely diagnosing patients with piriformis syndrome, a problem affecting muscles in the back. He and his staff allegedly prescribed injections for the purported conditions and ordered inappropriate scans, according to a June statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
The misdiagnoses were used to falsely bill government programs, including Medicaid, Medicare and Tri-Care. The Ohio Medical Board has since suspended Dr. Tsai’s license.
Unnecessary procedures like CT scans, or surgeries can be costly to patients. Contact the attorneys at Luvera Law Firm if you believe you or a family member were subject to unnecessarily procedures by doctors, nurses, or physicians.