Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Doctor Charged with Health Care Fraud for Phony Patients

It's hard enough even getting in to see a doctor, but when the insurance company gets billed for more than 21,000 physical therapy services and injections for 34 patients, there has to be something wrong.  Dr. Zack Brown of Detroit was indicted on 72 counts of mail fraud, 34 counts of health care fraud, and conspiracy related to a long-running scheme in which patients covered by Blue Cross-Blue Shield were recruited to provide their insurance information in exchange for payments, and then the good doctor billed upwards of $1 million for services for these non-existent patients. 

It's not as if there weren't warning signs about Dr. Brown, however, as a check of his record with the Michigan Department of Community Health (here) shows that his license was revoked in 1988, restored in 1992, suspended in 1994, restored in 1995 (after payment of a fine and being placed on probation), and then in 1999 he was fined again and ordered to perform community service.  Does anyone see a pattern here?  It gets worse, as a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for Eastern District of Michigan (here) notes that Dr. Brown is a "twice convicted felon," and in addition to all the other counts he is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  That probably explains all the "sanctions" imposed by the state. It seems like it's tougher to lose a medical license than to get one. (ph)

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