The first sound a pregnant mother hears from the child she carries is its heartbeat. The heart starts beating very early during gestation and continues beating until the end of one’s life. As Kentucky’s population ages, the business of keeping hearts healthy is a very important one. Cardiologists are instrumental in keeping hearts beating longer so people can enjoy longer and healthier lives. Tests and procedures are a fundamental part of the business, but the appearance of impropriety in administering them can lead to charges of fraud.
In a recent case, a cardiologist from the eastern part of the state was convicted of health care fraud. He was accused of performing unnecessary cardiac procedures. The doctor was a practicing physician at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Kentucky. An anonymous complaint received by the hospital stated that the cardiologist was performing unnecessary procedures, which led to an investigation that resulted in the charges of alleged fraud.
At sentencing, the physician was ordered to serve five years behind bars and pay $1 million in restitution. The doctor professed his innocence throughout the case. The defense in the case was disappointed in the outcome and an appeal is planned.
The heart is an organ and part of a human body, but no two humans are identical. Doctors in Kentucky must take that into account when treating patients and be aware that what worked for one patient may not work for another. What may appear to be unnecessary can, in actuality, help save a life. Having one’s career threatened by a charge of fraud can be disconcerting. Consulting with an attorney experienced in dealing with medical fraud cases can help one to prepare a compelling defense.