Reading my New York Times I came across a half page ad in the Business section, commissioned by Dr. Harry Persaud.
The gist of this is a letter to the American Public informing them that the the Health Care law is preventing cardiologists from doing "life saving" surgery specifically the procedure surrounding stents.
I have written about Dr. Persaud before, but let me refresh your memories from the Cleveland Plain Dealer of a year ago.
Westlake heart doctor charged with performing unnecessary procedures, overbilling $7.2 million
The Plain Dealer
By James F. McCarty
August 21, 2014
CLEVELAND, Ohio – A Westlake cardiologist whose offices were raided by the FBI in 2012 was charged today in a 16-count federal indictment with performing unnecessary heart procedures and overbilling insurance companies by $7.2 million.
A grand jury returned an indictment charging Dr. Harry Persaud, 55, with health care fraud, 14 counts of making false statements, and money laundering.
The indictment seeks the forfeiture of nearly $344,000 contained in two bank accounts in the names of Persaud and his wife, Roberta.
Persaud performed dozens of unnecessary stent insertions, catheterizations and tests, and caused unnecessary coronary artery bypass surgeries to be performed as part of a scheme to overbill Medicare and other insurers, according to the indictment.
At least 14 medical malpractice lawsuits have been filed against Persaud in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court since 2012.
Persaud pleaded not guilty to the charges during his initial appearance in U.S. District Court this afternoon. Magistrate Greg White ordered him to surrender his passport and avoid contact with any potential witnesses, then released him on a $25,000 personal bond.
"He's a good physician and has done nothing wrong," said defense attorney Henry Hilow.
U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach called the case "deeply troubling."
"Inflating Medicare billings alone would be bad enough," Dettelbach said.
"Falsifying cardiac care records, making an unnecessary referral for open heart surgery and performing needless and sometimes invasive heart tests and procedures is inconsistent with not only federal law but a doctor's basic duty to his patients."
stents.jpegHeart stents are mesh supports that hold open blocked arteries and improve blood flow to the heart.
Stephen Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI's Cleveland office, said, "This doctor violated the sacred trust between doctor and patient by ordering unnecessary tests, procedures and surgeries to line his pockets.
He ripped off taxpayers and put patients' lives at risk."
Persaud was born in London and graduated in 1983 from the St. Mary's Hospital Medical School at the University of London. He is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease, according to the American Board of Medical Specialties.
Persaud had a private medical practice in Westlake with hospital privileges at St. John Medical Center, Fairview Hospital in Cleveland and Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights.
Persaud devised a scheme to defraud Medicare and other insurers from 2006 to 2012, according to the indictment, which said the doctor:
• Reported medical services to Medicare that were more costly than the services actually performed;
• Performed unnecessary nuclear stress tests on patients;
• Recorded false nuclear test results to justify unnecessary cardiac catheterization procedures;
• Falsely recorded the existence and extent of blockage observed during catheterizations;
• Recorded false symptoms to justify testing and procedures on patients;
• Inserted cardiac stents in patients who did not have at least 70 percent blockage in blood vessels, nor exhibited symptoms of blockage;
• Placed a stent in an artery that already had a functioning bypass;
• Improperly referred patients for unnecessary coronary artery bypass surgery.
Heart stents are mesh supports that hold open blocked arteries and improve blood flow to the heart.
At the same time Persaud's practices were under FBI investigation, his work was being reviewed by the three hospitals where he conducted his practice in an attempt to determine whether he unnecessarily placed stents in the hearts of patients.
Earlier in 2012, St. John Medical Center sent letters of apology to 23 patients telling them they may have had stents placed in their hearts unnecessarily at the hospital in the previous two years.
In prepared statements, St. John, Fairview and Southwest General said they have cooperated with federal officials investigating Persaud, and St. John has instituted additional quality measures to more closely monitor heart cases.
Last August, Persaud filed a $10 million lawsuit against the St. John Medical Center and its chief medical officer, accusing them of making false statements against him, defaming his character and interfering with his ability to practice medicine.
Persaud claimed in the lawsuit that the equipment he used to diagnose blocked heart arteries at St. John Medical Center was not functioning properly and provided improper images.
"Dr. Persaud believes he's provided his patients with the best medical care," Hilow, his attorney, said at the time. "He's always held his patients' health and welfare first and foremost."
As a result of the bad publicity, Persaud said he has lost hundreds of patients, he's been sued 14 times and his malpractice insurance carrier dropped him, forcing him to pay more than $200,000 a year for insurance that once cost him $16,000
You can click on the link from the newspaper to see the legal filings and then ask how much that ad cost and did his Lawyer's approve this message?