Monday, August 12, 2013

Michigan Doctor Fata Allegedly Defrauded Medicare Of $35M With False Claims

Farid Fata

Dr. Fata administered unnecessary chemotherapy to patients in remission and made staff members to submit false claims to Medicare to collect up to $35 million in payments within a two year period.

By H. Nelson Goodson
August 11, 2013

Detroit, Michigan - On Tuesday, Dr. Farid Fata, 48, of Oakland Township is expected to return to the U.S. Court of the Eastern District of Michigan to face federal charges stemming from filing false claims to collect up to $35 million from Medicare.  Fata was taken in custody early last week after he was indicted for giving "unnecessary chemotherapy to patients in remission" and then filed false claims with Medicare to collect millions. 
He allegedly gave unnecessary medical treatments to patients for cancer and hematalogy who didn't need it, according to the criminal complaint.  If convicted, Fata is facing up to 20 years in a federal prison.
The U.S. Attorney's Office of Eastern Michigan reported that Fata owns and operates the Michigan Hematology Oncology (MHO) Centers, which has offices in Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, Lapeer, Sterling Heights, Troy and Oak Park.  It was through MHO that Dr. Fata allegedly submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary services, including chemotherapy treatments, Positron Emission Tomograph (PET) scans and a variety of cancer and hematology treatments for patients who did not need them.  In the course of the scheme, Dr. Fata falsified and directed others to falsify documents.  MHO billed Medicare for approximately $35 million dollars over a two-year period, approximately $25 million of which is attributable to Dr. Fata, according to the complaint. 
The complaint further alleges that Dr. Fata directed the administration of unnecessary chemotherapy to patients in remission; deliberate misdiagnosis of patients as having cancer to justify unnecessary cancer treatment; administration of chemotherapy to end-of-life patients who will not benefit from the treatment; deliberate misdiagnosis of patients without cancer to justify expensive testing; fabrication of other diagnoses such as anemia and fatigue to justify unnecessary hematology treatments, and distribution of controlled substances to patients without medical necessity or are administered at dangerous levels.
Dr. Fata also directed that chemotherapy be administered to patients who had other serious medical conditions that required immediate treatment before he would permit them to go to the hospital.  In one instance, a male patient fell down and hit his head when he came to MHO.  Dr. Fata insisted that the patient receive his chemotherapy before he could be taken to the emergency room.  MHO administered the chemotherapy, after which the patient was taken to the emergency room.  The patient later died from his head injury.  In the second instance, a patient came to MHO with extremely low sodium levels, which can be fatal.  Dr. Fata again directed that the patient first receive chemotherapy before being taken to the emergency room.  MHO administered the chemotherapy and the patient was taken to the emergency room and hospitalized.
The MHO website says that, Dr. Fata received a Bachelor of Science from Lebanese University in 1992.  He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Maimonides Medical Center, State University of New York, Brooklyn, NY, in 1996.  Dr. Fata attended Cornell University Medical College, NY and completed his Hematology Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1999.

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