The medical scandal at Chicago’s Sacred Heart Hospital continues to grow, with the hospital’s owner, chief financial officer, and five of its doctors now charged with orchestrating a massive kickback scheme and administering unnecessary medical treatments.
According to the Department of Justice, Sacred Heart’s owner, a high level executive, and some of its doctors were involved in a massive kickback scheme whereby the hospital paid kickbacks to referring doctors in return for referrals of Medicare and Medicaid patients. Sacred Heart executives tried to conceal the fraudulent scheme by referring to payments as fictitious rental payments, paying the salaries of physicians’ employees, providing physicians ghost contracts for duties without any real responsibilities, creating alternative billing arrangements, and purporting to pay physicians to supervise and teach non-existent medical students.
Sacred Heart’s owner, Edward Novak, was arrested last mont following a three-year investigation, which revealed a health care fraud scheme that netted more than $225,000 in cash and at least $2 million in Medicare and other health care program reimbursements. Novak is accused of orchestrating a system of kickbacks to induce doctors to refer their patients to Sacred Heart.
Sacred Heart’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, Roy Payawal, was also been charged in connection with the scandal, as well as five of the hospitals doctors: Venkateswara Kuchipudi, Percy Conrad May Jr., Subir Maitra, Shanin Moshiri, and Kenneth Nave. All of the doctors except, Dr. Kenneth Nave, are accused of participating in the illegal kickback scheme. Nave has been charged with prescribing narcotics without a license.
Also at the heart of the Sacred Heart scandal are alleged unnecessary medical treatments, including unnecessary tracheotomies. According to the Chicago Tribune, a hospital administrator cooperating with the investigation recorded Novak saying that tracheotomies are the hospital’s “biggest moneymaker” and that the hospital can make $160,000 for a tracheotomy if the patients stays for at least 27 days.
The investigation also revealed a scheme to admit nursing home patients to Sacred Heart “irrespective of any medical necessity” by using certain ambulance companies allegedly involved in the scheme that transported the nursing home patients as emergency room patients and directly billing Medicare. No charges were initially filed in connection with these allegations, however.
The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys focus on representing the victims of medical malpractice in lawsuits against negligent doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. We are committed to ensuring that patients and the public are protected from unscrupulous doctors, and to protecting the rights of patients injured by dishonest doctors and health care providers.
If you or a loved one was a patient of Sacred Heart Hospital or the victim of medical malpractice, contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Chicago medical malpractice attorneys.