Saturday, September 14, 2013

State temporarily suspends doctor charged in Sacred Heart health care fraud case

The state has temporarily suspended the license of a doctor charged in the Sacred Heart Hospital Medicaid and Medicare fraud scandal after his attorneys asked a judge in Indiana to delay his unrelated trial there because he is was "medically unfit."
Dr. Subir Maitra, one of four doctors named in the alleged Sacred Heart conspiracy, faces trial in November in the Northern District of Indiana on similar fraud charges. This week his attorneys asked a judge to delay the start of that trial, saying the 73-year-old was physically frail, had suffered several medical setbacks recently and had lost the ability to concentrate for long periods.
That filing prompted the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation on Friday to temporarily suspend Maitra's license, saying the filing indicates he "may be "physically and/or mentally impaired" and his practice "presents an immediate danger to the safety of the public."
A hearing on the suspension is set for next week. Thomas Anthony Durkin, Maitra's attorney, declined to comment.
Maitra and three other doctors are charged along with hospital CEO Edward Novak and its chief financial officer, Roy Payawal, in a scheme that allegedly involved paying kickbacks for patient referrals and performing unnecessary procedures, including tracheotomies. Five deaths tied to tracheotomies performed at the hospital are under investigation as part of the probe.
Novak sought to last month have his unusually high $10 million cash bond reduced, based on what his attorneys said were emerging questions about the evidence against him. U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Martin on Thursday denied the request, saying it was not appropriate for him to weigh the evidence. He also noted Novak's extraordinary wealth.
"Mr. Novak's personal wealth is estimated at approximately three times the amount posted on his behalf," Martin wrote in his order. "He has set forth no argument demonstrating any type of financial difficulty suffered as a result of the cash amount posted."

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