Podiatrist sentenced to probation for drug charge (North Carolina)

 A Grifton podiatrist was sentenced to probation and a fine for a drug charge.

Dr. Paul Joseph Civatte, 52, was given a sentence of 12 months of probation and a  fine for a reduced charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. The case dated back to Dr. Civatte's 2007 arrest for possession of cocaine and maintaining a automobile for the use of controlled substances(CDS).

Dr. Civatee, who is a podiatrist at  Greenville Foot and Ankle Center,  was arrested for allegedly possessing two grams of cocaine while attempting to purchase drugs from undercover officers.

The cocaine possession charge was reduced to possession of drug paraphernalia. The other charge was dismissed.

Joseph Civatte, DPM was sentenced to a term of supervised probation and was fined $1,000. He was ordered to pay court costs in the amount of $541.50.

Source: ENCtoday.com (April 13, 2009)




Podiatrist accused in drugs for sex case (Missouri)

Dr. Dave Dai Quang Pham, a St. Louis podiatrist, is accused of trying to exchange prescription drugs for sex.

The St. Francois County Prosecutor charged 49-year-old Dr. Pham with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, distribution of a controlled substance, and a misdemeanor, patronizing prostitution.

Source: Associated Press (April 2, 2009)

Missouri Podiatrist pleads guilty (MO)

A St. Louis, Missouri podiatrist has plead guilty to obstructing a federal audit when she provided the Medicare program with a false and backdated treatment record, U.S.  said Thursday.

Bic Chau Stafford, D.P.M., 59, who practices at the Family Foot and Ankle Care Center in Maryland Heights, as well as assorted assisted living facilities in St. Louis County and St. Louis City, plead guilty to one felony count of obstruction of a federal audit.  When sentenced Dr. Stafford faces fines of up to $250,000 and  maximum penalty of five years in prison. 

Prosecutors said that Dr. Stafford allegedly billed Medicare for complex foot surgeries provided to 39  Medicare beneficiaries when she was really providing these patients with only routine foot care, such as toenail clippings

Prosecutors said, in response to a Medicare audit, Dr. Stafford created new treatment records for the 39 patients in 2007 and backdated them to 2004, and claimed that she had provided these patients with podiatric surgery.

Source: St. Louis Business Journal (April 2, 2009)

Podiatrist arrested for insurance fraud (MS)

Larry Cruel, D.P.M., a Mississippi podiatrist,  has been arrested following an insurance fraud investigation, announced Attorney General.

Larry Cruel, D.P.M. (age 44), is a podiatrist at Advanced Foot Care in Jackson, MS.  He was recently arrested  by investigators with the Attorney General's Office and charged with one count of insurance fraud and one count of wire fraud for allegedly submitting false claims to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Dr. Cruel faces up to three years for the insurance fraud charge and up to five years for the wire fraud charge .

As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Source: Compnewsnetwork, March 27, 2009 (workerscompensation.com)

Missouri podiatrist pleads guilty to health care fraud (MO)

A St. Louis County podiatrist, Dr. Denise Hardy, 45,  recently plead guilty to a health care fraud charge in federal court in St. Louis and has admitted to over billing Medicaid and Medicare for unnecessary treatments.

Prosecutors said that Denise Hardy, D.P.M.,  lied on treatment notes from 2000 through 2005 so that Medicaid and Medicare would pay for foot care that would not otherwise have been reimbursed.

Dr. Hardy worked for South St. Louis Orthopedic Group between 1998  and 2005 and provided podiatric services at their office as well as at nursing homes, such as Lafayette Habilitation and at senior service centers at St. Anthonys Medical Center and  St. Alexius Hospital.

Denise Hardy was paid a salary of  $55,000  plus between 50 to 60 percent of the revenue she had billed each month over $12,000.

Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch 3-13-2009

Who performs foot surgery... (cont.)

Generally the standards of medical care will be the same from specialty to specialty, however there may be distinct differences within each sub-specialty. In addition, training and procedures will vary between the sub specialties. It is important to establish that a particular provider is trained and qualified to perform the particular surgery that may be at issue. Board Qualification and Board Certification does not guarantee that a provider is qualified or trained to perform a particular surgery.

Tip: Make sure that you request the privileges  granted to the provider by a particular hospital or surgical center in order to confirm that the facility has granted privileges to the doctor to perform surgery. Absence of privileges may help confirm that the provider received inadequate training or perhaps no training in the procedure(s) at issue.

Who performs foot surgery and provides footcare?

Foot surgery and foot care can be provided by a variety of providers, as there is overlap amongst many different medical and surgical specialties. They include podiatrists, orthopedic surgeons (with or without fellowship training in foot and ankle disease).   Dermatologists provide skin and nail treatment. Ulcer and bedsore care may   be provided by vascular surgeons and implemented by wound care nurses and physician assitantsNeurologists commonly provide treatment for neuropathy and neurosurgeons will perform nerve surgery in the foot.   Lastly, general practitioners may provide minor treatment modalities or alternatively refer to anyone of the above.




Podiatrist Guilty of Healthcare Fraud (Ohio)

Ohio  podiatrist, Dr. Harold M. Jones, DPM,   has been found guilty in a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. Dr. Jones, 45, recently went on trial in Cleveland on 22 counts of healthcare fraud, six counts of aggravated identity theft and 26 counts of mail fraud. The jury found him guilty on three of the counts, after three days of deliberations and not guilty on the remainder of the charges.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Roberts, Dr. Jones had used improper billing codes, billed for services that were not rendered and also billed under a false provider number. The doctor was also accused of using another medicare provider number and person’s name in order to submit false claims for reimbursement.

Source: The News-Herald (2-24-09)

Podiatrist admits submission of fraudulent Medicare Claims (Pennsylvania)

A  podiatrist from Scranton, PA,  plead guilty  to taking between $10,000 and $30,000 in Medicare payments for services he did not provide.

Podiatrist Thomas Rittenhouse, DPM, entered a guilty plea to one count of making a false statement in a health care matter. These charge carry up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

At the plea hearing, the Assistant U.S. Attorney said doctor Rittenhouse had filed claims with Medicare between  2003 and  2008 and was paid for services he never provided to patients.  Dr. Rittenhouse is accused of claiming to have performed "nail avulsions", a procedure in which a toenail is removed, but actually just provided routine foot care.

Although the exact amount has not yet been calculated, Dr. Rittenhouse admitted the amount  was between $10,000 and $30,000, and in likely the doctor will be required to pay back the amount that he had received  through filing the fake claims.

Thomas Rittenhouse, DPM,  remains free while awaiting sentencing in Federal Court which is currently set for May 26.

Source: The Times Tribune - 2-18-09

Podiatrist arrested for distributing CDS (LA)

A  podiatrist in Shreveport, Louisianna and his office manager turned themselves into the Caddo Correctional Center.

60-year-old Podiatrist  Dale Fazio, D.P.M.,  is being charged with the unlawfull distribution of  controlled substances and 49-year-old Leighton Fazio is also charged with obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

The arrests stem from an investigation  by the New Orleans Drug Enforcement Agency.

Dr. Fazio is not licensed to dispense controlled substances, he can only write prescriptions for them and can give them by injection, but cannot dispense controlled substances.

 It was learned that approximately 1,500 hydrocodone tablets and 100 codine tablets were ordered under Dr. Fazio's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) number.

It was learned that the drugs were ordered by Mrs. Fazio and that Dr. Fazio knew about the orders. Investigators also learned that the pills ordered were taken by Mrs. Fazio.  

He surrendered his DEA license. He can still practice medicine.

KSLA - 2-19-09

Continue Reading...