Manatt Partner Comments on High Sentencing for Former Cardiologist
"Heart Docs Face Extra Heat in Fraud Cases"
January 2, 2013—Manatt's Kenneth Julian, a partner in the firm's Litigation Division, spoke to Modern Physician about why heart doctors face higher sentences in fraudulent cases.
As reported by Modern Physician, whistle-blowers and federal investigators have been devoting considerable scrutiny to the medical field, as seen by former cardiologist Dr. Mehmood Patel, who has become the latest heart doctor to receive a long criminal sentence for engaging in questionable practices. Patel was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison after a jury convicted him of 51 counts of healthcare fraud for performing allegedly unnecessary heart procedures.
Lawyers told the publication that cardiologists face high penalties in part because the procedures they perform tend to cost more than other medical billings Medicare will front.
"If you are a cardiologist doing expensive procedures, and you are doing something that the government regards as fraudulent, you absolutely could be looking at more time because the loss amount is higher," said Julian, a former healthcare prosecutor in the federal Central District of California.
"They also look at whether you are harming patients," he said. "If you are committing fraud and you are also exposing patients to potential harm, you are driving the potential penalties into the stratosphere."