Indian American Doctor Indicted For Health Care Fraud in Missouri
Dr. Brj R Vaid of St. Louis County, Missouri, allegedly left pre-signed prescriptions with his assistants who then prescribed drugs to patients.
An Indian American doctor and his nurse have been indicted after it was discovered that the doctor pre-signed prescriptions to patients and then proceeded to falsely claim and bill Medicare and Medicaid as though they were “face to face” office visits, according to American Bazaar Online. Medicare and Medicaid are U.S. federal and state programs that give health coverage to patients.
Dr. Brj R Vaid, who has several offices across the St. Louis County, Missouri, has employed physician assistants who prescribe to patients powerful opiate and opioid pain relief drugs, such as Opana, Hydrocodone, and Oxycontin, on his pre-signed prescriptions, the Justice Department said.
Vaid’s assistants were allegedly prescribing these drugs even when Vaid was out of town or sometimes out of the country. It is not legal for physician assistants to prescribe medicines to patients.
According to the prosecution, the pre-signed prescriptions were prepared by the doctor for each patient, referring to the case history and based on the previous prescription. Vaid failed to take into account when patients’ urine tested positive for illegal drugs or showed they were not taking the drugs he prescribed, according to St. Louis Post Despatch. Waldo, his nurse, is not supposed to prescribe stuff on her own.
Vaid, 56, and Waldo, 57, are looking at a maximum penalty of five years in prison, along with fines up to $250,000 if they are found guilty of the conspiracy charge and the charge of making and presenting false claims.
Vaid’s attorney Steven M. Sherman described him as “a caring physician with dedicated patients,” St. Louis Post Despatch reported. “We regret that the government has chosen this path, and Dr. Vaid will vigorously fight these charges,” Sherman added.
Vaid had been warned by a consultant auditor about his unusual billing patterns in 2014. As per the indictment, he signed a settlement agreement in the same year with the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, accepting “that he violated controlled substances laws involving hydrocodone and other drugs” by failing to keep records of who received those drugs.
Offices of Inspector General for the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, and the U.S Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service investigated the case.