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Fake Doc Takes Physicians For A Ride

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, September 22, 2011

Riding on the train last week, I talked with a fellow passenger about "fakes." That's because my traveling companion is a business consultant who specializes in uncovering fraud, especially related to counterfeit money. Our conversation turned to the 2002 movie, Catch Me if You Can, with Leonardo DiCaprio playing the role of Frank Abagnale Jr., who for years posed as a pilot, a prosecutor and a Georgia physician, scamming millions of dollars along the way, before he became a law-abiding citizen.

"The fraud," he said, "is relentless. It keeps coming."

I was thinking about that conversation after I read this news story about "fake" doctor who treated more than 1,000 people in 2 states, collected $1.2 million for the "care" he provided, and then tried to sell their health information.

The guy who didn't have a license to practice medicine is Matthew Paul Brown, 30, formerly of Atlanta, GA and Nashville, TN, who eventually pleaded guilty in federal court in Atlanta to healthcare fraud and wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information.

As Commins' reported, prosecutors said Brown worked with licensed physicians in both states from November 2009 to April 2011 and used their provider numbers to collect about $1.2 million in false claims with Medicare andMedicaid and private insurance companies. He would administer the care in the physicians' offices and at health fairs, with physicians agreeing to pay Brown between 50% and 85% of their take.

Those docs who agreed to pay Brown were really taken for a ride, which ended up being costly for everyone involved, physicians and patients included.

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