Physician Practice Roundup—Doctor sentenced to prison in $30M fraud scheme, and more news

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A New York doctor will spend time in prison for his part in a $30 million fraud scheme. (Gettyimages, vladans)

Doctor sentenced to prison in $30M fraud scheme

A New York doctor was sentenced to one year and one day in prison Tuesday for his participation in a $30 million scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid.

Ewald J. Antoine, M.D., 67, of Valley Stream, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay over $1.8 million in restitution and forfeit $269,412 in ill-gotten gains, according to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Prosecutors said Antoine falsely posed as the owner of two medical clinics which were actually owned by a businessman and falsely claimed that he had examined and treated hundreds of patients that he had never seen. He plead guilty back in January to healthcare fraud and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud.

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Antoine is the second physician sentenced in the case, in which businessman Aleksandr Burman owned and operated six medical clinics in Brooklyn that fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid. Burman hired doctors to pose as the owners of the clinics, since New York State law requires they be owned and operated by a medical professional. (U.S. Attorney’s Office announcement)

American Osteopathic Association welcomes M.D.s as members

After more than 100 years, the American Osteopathic Association has voted to open its membership to all physicians whether they have a D.O. or M.D. after their name.

In what it called a historic decision, the AOA said its House of Delegates amended governing documents to allow M.D.s full membership in the organization, which represents osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) and medical students. The change was made as 29 M.D. graduates are training in osteopathic-focused residencies accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education. (American Osteopathic Association)

A policy was meant to curb opioid prescribing. Instead, researchers say prescriptions after surgery went up

A rescheduling of hydrocodone by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2014 was meant to curb prescriptions written for the powerful opioids by providers.

Instead, a study published in JAMA Surgery found, the policy might have had the opposite effect from what officials intended.

Under the 2014 DEA policy change, prescription formulations of hydrocodone were limited to a 90-day supply and could no longer be prescribed by phone or fax. Researchers from the University of Michigan analyzed nearly 22,000 privately insured patients in Michigan who had one of 19 common elective surgical procedures such as knee or hip replacements before and after the policy change.

The data showed an immediate, significant increase following the schedule change in the number of opioid prescriptions filled post-surgery. (Fierce Healthcare)

Health advisors give more options in cervical cancer screening recommendations

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force included some new options when it released its recommendations for cervical cancer screening this week.

The task force said women ages 21 to 65 benefit from screening and recommended a Pap test for women ages 21 to 29. But because most cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus, for women ages 30 to 65, the task force said there is a choice of three strategies: A Pap test, an HPV test or both in combination. The final recommendation was published in JAMA. (Task force announcement)

Doctors fail to recommend meningitis vaccine to patients

A survey of pediatricians and family practitioners found many fail to discuss or recommend the meningitis B vaccine to adolescent patients.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that adolescents and young adults ages 16 to 23 be vaccinated, the survey found that during routine visits, only 51% of pediatricians and 31% of family practitioners always or often discussed the need for the vaccine. Among those who talked to patients, 91% recommended the vaccination. Doctors who were aware of a meningitis outbreak in their state were more likely to discuss the vaccine. The study was published in Pediatrics and researchers concluded that increasing physician education about meningitis may help to increase vaccination rates. (American Academy of Pediatrics announcement)

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