Could this have been averted early on before this unfortunate result?
Last week, following his conviction last April for medical billing-fraud related to medically unnecessary placement of cardiac pacemakers, Dr. Anis Chalhoub was sentenced to 42 months in prison; required to pay $257,515 restitution to Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers; and fined an additional $50,000. Dr. Chaloub’s attorneys had requested a shorter time in prison and perhaps it is possible they will appeal the sentence.
According to the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, an additional term in the sentence was that following release from prison he will remain on probation for a three-year period during which the “court has prohibited him from practicing cardiology during that time.” I am puzzled about whether a federal court has superior jurisdiction over Kentucky’s Medical Licensure Board for such a restriction on licensure. If I were the Kentucky Board, I would be embarrassed or angry, or both. Out of curiosity, I looked today at the Kentucky Board’s website which informs me and potential patients that Dr. Chalhoub still has an active Kentucky medical license with “no actions” or restrictions mentioned. (I confirmed this with a call to the Board.) Although several physician-referral & rating websites have him affiliated with hospitals in Lousiville and Indiana, I do not know if he is still practicing medicine. Continue reading “Another St. Joseph- London Cardiologist Is Sentenced to Prison.”
Dr. Anis G. Chalhoub, formerly a cardiologist at KentuckyOne Health’s St. Joseph London Hospital, was indicted in Federal Court in June, 2016 for allegedly performing unnecessary cardiac procedures. A jury trial concluded last Wednesday with a finding of guilty on all 12 counts. (United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky, London. Criminal Case No. 16-cr-23). I do not yet have many court documents, but one of the counts must have been related to the civil lawsuit in Laurel County against St. Joseph and Catholic Health Initiatives which awarded a record $21.2 million to a Corbin man for unneeded surgical heart procedures at the London Hospital. (That case is still being appealed.) Dr. Chalhoub currently holds a valid medical license in Kentucky and practices in Louisville and Southern Indiana.
[Addendum April 17, 2018: The Department of Justice released today a notice of the conviction with some additional details. The story was also reported this morning in the Lexington Herald. This latter notice reported that Dr. Chalhoub was convicted on a single count rather than the 12 counts noticed to to me. I will correct this article when I can reference the original court documents.] Continue reading “Second Cardiologist Found Guilty in Federal Court for Performing Unnecessary Cardiac Procedures at St. Joseph London Hospital.”
A reader shared a notice that the Ashland doctor at the center of the angioplasty-abuse scandal at King’s Daughters Hospital was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegations of performing unnecessary cardiac stent procedures and associated billing fraud. If found guilty, he faces up to 15 years of prison and financial restitution and penalties. Dr. Richard E. Paulus allegedly participated in this scheme from at least 2008 when he sold his practice to King’s Daughters Hospital until 2013 when he retired. He preformed more cardiac stent placements than any other physician in Kentucky, and placed his hospital among the highest in the nation for the number of such procedures.
In 2014 King‘s Daughters had settled with the Justice Department for $40.1 million to resolve claims of false billing for medically unnecessary cardiac procedures. This new criminal indictment of a physician involved represents another dimension of that investigation. Other civil and probably criminal actions are proceeding. Dr. Paulus has not yet had a trial and should be considered innocent until then. In previous federal settlements with the two Kentucky Hospitals accused of false billing for cardiology services, the parties were not required to admit guilt. What are we to think? How bad is this? Is it nothing more than reckless billing or perhaps over-aggressive law enforcement? I don’t think so and offer the following thoughts as opinions. Continue reading “Another Kentucky Invasive Cardiologist Facing Possible Jail Time.”
What comes after the fines? Which is worse?
Now that the initial round of federal legal proceedings against St. Joseph Hospital London and King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) over false billing, improper financial relationships with physicians, or provision of unnecessary cardiac services has closed, I have largely lost track of where things stand. Civil proceedings by patients against the hospitals and several physicians are ongoing in Boyd and Laurel County courts where plainiff and defense attorneys have been busy. Surely the federal monetary settlements and ongoing lawsuits have damaged the reputations and finances of the two institutions. The heavily promoted cardiac surgery program in London was closed. Cardiac patient volumes at KDMC have fallen to the point that they are referred to as an issue in its bond ratings. At least one physician working at St. Joseph London was sentenced to prison. Two other physicians from that hospital recently signed settlements of their own with the U.S. Department of Justice paying $360,000 to settle allegations that included payments for illegal referrals and having entered “sham agreements” that concealed their financial relationships with St. Joseph. Other hospitals and physicians that have similar contractual relationships must certainly be scrambling to make repairs. Continue reading “Corporate Integrity Agreement in Angioplasty Abuse Case.”