Physician Practice Roundup—Doctor, former hospital owner convicted in $20M fraud scheme

Medical justice
A Texas doctor and a former hospital owner face jail time after they were found guilty in a $20 million healthcare fraud scheme. (Getty/yavdat)

Doctor, former hospital owner convicted in $20M fraud scheme

A Texas doctor and a former hospital owner were found guilty in a $20 million healthcare fraud scheme by a federal jury.

Harcharan Narang, M.D., a 50-year-old internal medicine doctor, and Dayakar Moparty, 47, the former owner of the now-closed Red Oak Hospital, were convicted Feb. 22 of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, 17 counts of healthcare fraud and three counts of money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the southern district of Texas. The jury deliberated for less than four hours following a two-week trial before convicting the two men. They face up to 10 years in federal prison for each count of healthcare fraud and up to 20 years for each count of money laundering.

Prosecutors said the two men submitted false and fraudulent claims for medical test that were not medically necessary or not provided at all and then billed at Red Oak Hospital at a higher reimbursement rate. (Announcement)

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New Jersey doctor charged with taking photos of women in hospital bathroom

A grand jury returned a 160-count indictment against a New Jersey doctor that included charges he took photos of more than two dozen women in a hospital bathroom, according to the Bridgewater Courier News.

James Goydos, 58, a former professor of surgery at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was charged in the indictment with the invasion of privacy, computer theft, wiretapping, burglary, official misconduct and impersonation, according to the newspaper.

The Middlesex County prosecutor announced the indictment on Wednesday and said the alleged crimes spanned a two-year period. The women were photographed or filmed at a bathroom at Goydos’ workplace and not in his capacity as a physician. The university told the newspaper that Goydos is no longer employed there and had resigned. (Bridgewater Courier News article)

U.S. medical schools losing ground on diversity, study says

Medical schools in the U.S. are losing ground when it comes to racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, according to a perspective piece published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The authors said that between 1997 and 2017, the number of students studying at U.S. medical schools who were from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine increased by 30%. But because the overall number of students in medical school increased by 54%, the proportion of those from underrepresented groups actually dropped from 15% to 13%. As a result, the overall rate of medical school attendance by members of underrepresented groups fell by nearly 20%, the authors said, and the numbers of black male medical students and American Indian or Alaska Native medical school students all decreased.

The authors said medical schools need to redesign their admissions criteria and processes to address the disparities and educate classes of students that more closely mirror the U.S. population. (NEJM perspective piece)

New study finds it is safe for pregnant women to get a flu vaccine

A new study found no link between flu shots and an increased risk of a miscarriage for pregnant women, according to STAT news.

Results of the study, which looked at whether pregnant women face an increased risk of a miscarriage if they get a flu vaccine, were presented Wednesday at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which helps guide vaccination policy for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to STAT. The findings contradict an earlier, smaller study by the same researchers that raised questions about the safety of flu shots for pregnant women. The researchers will submit the study for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. (STAT)

Michigan nurse snowshoes to a hospice patient’s home

Just when you might have lost faith in mankind, a new station in Michigan brought a story to restore it with a story about a hospice nurse strapped on a pair of snowshoes to make it to a patient’s home during a snowstorm.

Nancy Miller, R.N., is being called an “angel in snowshoes” for getting to the hospice patient's home during one of the region's worst snowstorms of the year, according to 9&10 News.

She braved huge snow drifts, blizzardlike conditions and impassable roads after she got a call from a fellow nurse who lived more than 20 miles away asking if she could check on the patient who had called in to request a visit. Miller made the half-mile walk to the patient. “It was still snowing. It was still windy. It took a good 15 minutes. They needed a nurse there. I left there feeling good that I was able to help them. I think they felt reassured that I was there,” Miller said. (9&10 News)

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