2 Seattle Doctors Accused of Medicare Fraud; CNN Offers Advice For Patients On Checking Out Their Doctors

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Two Seattle-area doctors are accused of stealing millions from Medicare through fraudulent billing. "In separate grand jury indictments filed in U.S. District Court, federal authorities contend both men followed identical schemes in setting up shell companies designed to defraud the Medicare system." Authorities say one of the doctors "used stolen identities of actual Medicare recipients to file nearly 1,300 false claims in six months. In doing so, [one of the doctors] allegedly received $1.9 million in payments through the federal system while delivering nothing in return." The other doctor set up a bogus business and "used stolen identities to fraudulently draw $753,000 in Medicare reimbursements" (Pulkkinen, 2/11).

In the meantime, CNN asks if you know if your doctor is a criminal. "Hundreds of doctors in the United States have been found guilty of criminal acts, according to the Federation of State Medical Boards. Many continue to practice, and patients have no way of knowing about their doctor's criminal past unless they do some online sleuthing. … (A)ccording to the Federation of State Medical Boards, approximately 200 of the nation's 735,000 actively licensed doctors were disciplined by state boards related to a criminal offense in 2008. The crimes included conviction of criminal sexual conduct, patient abuse or neglect, driving under the influence, and insurance fraud." A search to see if your doctor is a criminal might not reveal transgressions in other states, but the Federation of State Medical boards offers a $10 search of their database of doctors with criminal records (Cohen, 2/11).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.