The Hippocratic Oath is a pledge taken by physicians and other health care professionals to practice medicine in an honest and ethical manner. A physician, who takes the Hippocratic Oath, but acts contrary to the pledge could be considered a hypocrite. SILive.com details a story about a Staten Island doctor, who participated in a $77 million Medicare fraud scheme. (This certainly violates the “do no harm” part, whether that refers to patients, the Medicare program or American taxpayers.)
The article describes the 58-year-old doctor as a “no-show” physician, who rarely visited the medical clinic where he was a director. The doctor participated in the scam by billing more than $20 million in fraudulent procedures and services, which were not required or performed, to his Medicare billing number. His take from the scam was more than $500,000.
The doctor was one of 13 defendants convicted in the wide-spread scam which billed under three different corporate names. The illegal operation paid kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries, whose names were then used to bill Medicare more than $77 million for unnecessary services. However, the doctor’s practice was not implicated in the kickback conspiracy. (Lucky for them – I’m sure they weren’t happy to be dragged into his mess.)
The absentee doctor had his medical license revoked and was sentenced to 151 month in prison (that’s about 12 and a half years) and was ordered to pay nearly $51 million in restitution. He was also ordered to forfeit $511,000 and will have three years of supervision following his release from prison. (He’ll be about 70 years-old when he gets out of the slammer.)
The doctor obviously didn’t give much credence to the Hippocratic Oath and decided to practice (or not practice, for that matter) medicine in a fraudulent manner. He’ll have plenty of time to work on his bedside manner while serving time.