MD Cardiologist Convicted in Cardiac Stent Scam

John Commins, July 28, 2011

A Maryland cardiologist was convicted of fraud after federal prosecutors showed that he inserted unnecessary cardiac stents into more than 100 patients as part of a scheme to defraud government and private insurers of more than $700,000.

A U.S. District Court jury in Baltimore on Tuesday also convicted John R. McLean, MD, of Salisbury of ordering needless tests and falsifying medical records as part of the six-count fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorneys' Office in Maryland said.

McLean, 59, could receive up to 35 years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 10. Prosecutors want to recover $711,583 that they believe McLean garnered in the scheme, but U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. will determine the exact amount of forfeiture at the sentencing.

The evidence presented at the two-week trial showed that from at least 2003 to May 2007 McLean performed cardiac catheterizations and implanted unnecessary cardiac stents in more than 100 patients at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, MD.

McLean, federal prosecutors said, falsely recorded in the patients' medical records the existence or extent of coronary artery blockage to justify the stents and the claims to health insurers, including Medicare and Medicaid.

"The evidence shows that Dr. McLean egregiously violated the trust of his patients and made false entries in their medical records to justify implanting unneeded cardiac stents and billing for the surgery and follow-up care," U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in prepared remarks. "We do not bring federal prosecutions based on discretionary judgments that might be disputed by reasonable medical professionals."

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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