Fraud: Michigan Doctor Misdiagnoses Cancer?

Funky Fraud Saturday Word Picture

Although the majority of healthcare providers are honest people, doing great work, there are still some providers committing fraud.  This is one example in Oakland County, Michigan which is outrageous.  The medical profession must police its ranks to root out fraudulent behavior.

“A Michigan doctor is accused of deliberately misdiagnosing patients with cancer and other conditions in order to commit health care fraud.  According to the criminal complaint against 48-year-old Farid Fata, the oncologist would give cancer drugs to patients unnecessarily or in inappropriate dosages.  Doctors and nurses who worked with Fata told federal agents Fata often gave patients doses of medication they didn’t need at toxic levels, treated them in office settings as opposed to hospitals and had what is referred to as “interns” or foreign doctors treat a high number of patients.  Further, a nurse also testified that there were cases where Fata would continue to treat patients who had gone into remission with a “maintenance dose” of chemotherapy. Fata is also accused of prescribing Xanax to patients who were nervous about their treatment.  A medical assistant said Fata told her to falsify records and would delay scans for patients at other facilities so he could do them through his own center.  Federal agents raided Fata’s Oakland Township home Tuesday morning — along with several medial facilities he’s associated with in the Rochester/Clarkston. ”

Detroit Free Press, August 7, 2013

This doctor is accused of $35 million dollar healthcare fraud scheme.  His activity affected many patients and families.  Where is their compliance plan?  Where is the licensing oversight of the facilities he ran?  Why didn’t any of his employees speak up earlier?

All of us working in and around healthcare might answer these questions differently.  Everyone has too much to do and not enough time to do their work.  However, in this case, it appears that the healthcare system failed these patients.  We must continue to be vigilant and speak up when we see this type of activity.

Another lesson we must all learn is “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”  In other words, if the healthcare practitioner is making significantly more than his/her peers, there will definitely be “red flags” raised which the government will pursue.

Ask:  is your compliance plan working?  When is the last time you did an audit?  Proactive measures like compliance plans, internal audits, etc.  could have likely avoided this government raid and indictment.

US v. Farid Fata, Criminal Complaint, August 6, 2013

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