Tag Archives: licensing and regulatory

Phony Florida Physician Uses Silicone and Krazy Glue – Arrested Twice for Practicing Medicine Without a License

6 Indest-2008-3By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A South Florida man was arrested on February 6, 2013, for allegedly injecting people with silicone in a West Palm Beach motel room. He has been charged with practicing medicine without a license. According to the Sun Sentinel, this was the man’s second arrest within two months for the same crime.

Click here to read the entire article from the Sun Sentinel.

This “Krazy” Tale.

Police say this fake physician injected his customers with buttocks-enhancing silicone injections. He would then allegedly seal up the skin wounds with Krazy Glue. Victims sayhe would not wear gloves or protective clothing during the procedures. Each victim was charged $200 for each visit. This phony health professional was also arrested in January 2013, when two victims told investigators similar stories about his illegal injections.

In each case, the side effects in patients included severe infections, and the damage is thought to be permanent.

South Florida and Phony Health Professionals.

This is by no means the first report we’ve heard of phony health professionals in South Florida injecting people with toxic chemicals. Back in 2012, a number of people became sick and deformed after a Broward County, Florida, woman allegedly injected victims’ buttocks, hips and breasts with a combination of Fix-A-Flat tire sealant, cement, mineral oil and Super Glue. One of the victims died as a result of the procedure, according to the Daily Mail Reporter. The victims claimed the woman administering the injections presented herself as a medical professional and wore a nurse’s uniform.

To read more on this story from the Daily Mail Reporter, click here.

Practicing Without a License Is a Crime.


Practicing medicine without a license is a crime. Additionally, so is helping someone practice medicine without a license. As a practitioner, you may be asked to supervise or join a practice. Remember that your license may be at stake with any wrongdoing by your subordinates. Before you join a practice or agree to supervise others, check first with the Department of Health (DOH) that the other providers are legitimate. You can verify a license for free on the DOH’s website.

Also, remember that a license to practice medicine in Venezuela, Cuba, or anywhere else, is just that: a license to practice in that country. It does not allow a person to practice medicine in the United States. A specific license from the State of Florida is required to practice in Florida, except for certain military and federal physicians. Always check the physician’s license.

More Stories on Fake Physicians and Other Phony and Fraudulent Professionals to Come.


In the near future on this blog we will include additional articles on fake doctors and health professionals, some old, some new.

To see a blog on a fake dentist in Miami, click here. You can also read the story of a fake plastic surgeon in New York by clicking here.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.


The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Comments?

What do you think of all of these news stories of phony health care professionals? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

Sources:

Komedna, Ed. “‘Motel Surgeon’ Arrested Again for Silicone Injections, Deputies Say.” Sun Sentinel. (February 6, 2013). From: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/palm-beach/fl-butler-surgery-arrest-20130206,0,2237567.story

United Press International Inc. “Man Arrested Again for Buttocks Injections.” United Press International Inc. (February 6, 2013). From: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/02/07/Arrest-for-illegal-silicone-injections/UPI-97251360271074/?spt=hs&or=tn

Daily Mail Reporter. “Toxic tush transgender nurse charged with manslaughter after patient DIES following ‘injection with rubber cement and tire sealant in backroom cosmetic surgery’.” (July 26, 2012). From: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2179631/Toxic-tush-nurse-Oneal-Morris-charged-manslaughter-patient-DIES.html#axzz2KKi2pPmh

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

 

The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Posing as Physician Assistant Lands Kissimmee Teen Behind Bars for One Year

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

The Kissimmee, Florida, teen found guilty in August 2012 for impersonating a physician assistant (P.A.) faced up to 20 years in prison for two counts of impersonation and two counts of practicing without a license. On November 14, 2012, the teen was sentenced to one year in jail by an Osceola County judge.

The phony P.A. was given credit for his 264 days already served in jail, so he will only have to spend the remaining 101 days behind bars. The judge ordered the teen to receive mental health counseling, and he will also serve eight years of supervised probation, according to WESH news in Orlando.

You can click here to watch video of the sentencing from WESH news. Click here to see the Osceola County Court records from this case.

Teen Acting Like a P.A. Had Access to Patients.

In August 2011, the teen tricked emergency room doctors, nurses and patients at Osceola Regional Medical Center into thinking he was a P.A. He even allegedly administered CPR to a patient. The charade ended before anyone was hurt.

Click here to read a blog I previously wrote on what else the teen did while impersonating a P.A.

Psychologist Testified on Behalf of Teen.

During the sentencing a psychologist testified on the teen’s behalf, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The article stated that the psychologist believes the teen lost sight of the consequences of his actions as his desire to be someone else took over.

The judge warned the teen that his probation prohibits him from owning or wearing medical apparel. The teen is also not allowed to visit any hospitals. According to the Orlando Sentinel, violating any of these terms will land him in prison.

Click here to read the article from the Orlando Sentinel.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Comments?

What do you think of the sentence? Do you think it was the hospital’s fault the teen gained access to patients? Please leave any thoughtful comment below.

Sources:

WESH-TV. “Matthew Scheidt Sentenced for Impersonating Hospital Employee” WESH-TV. (November 14, 2012). From: http://www.wesh.com/news/central-florida/Matthew-Scheidt-sentenced-for-impersonating-hospital-employee/-/11788162/17399014/-/154bbs1z/-/index.html

Pierson Curtis, Henry. “Matthew Scheidt: Teen Impostor Gets Year in Jail for Physician-Assistant Charade.” Orlando Sentinel. (November 14, 2012). From: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-matthew-scheidt-impostor-sentencing-20121114,0,6656845.story

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Fake Occupational Therapist Accused of Working in a Number of Local Hospitals

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A Kissimmee, Florida, man is accused of posing as an occupational therapist (OT) and working at various health care facilities in Central Florida, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). On October 16, 2012, the DOJ announced that the phony OT was charged with three counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Click here to see the press release from the DOJ.

Phony OT Worked in Hospitals Around Central Florida.

The fake OT allegedly took the license numbers of two legitimate OTs and stole the social security number of a North Carolina man. With this information and fabricated education credentials, the imposter received a temporary OT license from the Florida Department of Health (DOH).

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the man worked for a number of employers in Central Florida, including Florida Hospital, Lake Placid Health Care Center and a staffing agency, between 2009 and 2011.

To see the article from the Orlando Sentinel, click here.

Fake OT Faces Prison Time.

Pretending to be any kind of health professional can result in prison time and large fines.

In the case of the phony OT, if convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison for each of the five counts of mail/wire fraud and two years in federal prison for the aggravated identity theft charge.

Other Odd Health Care Stories from the Area.

It seems to me that over the years the town of Kissimmee has had a disproportionately large number of phony health professionals practicing there. Just recently an individual was convicted of posing as a licensed physician assistant (PA.), seeing patients in a Kissimmee hospital. Click here to see a blog on that story.

Phony doctors, nurses, PAs, dentists; what gives? Perhaps the close proximity to Disney World’s Fantasy Land leads them to believe they are really health professionals. Or maybe it’s something in the water there. Let’s hope it’s not colloidal silver. (Note: inside Central Florida joke.) See link to Howey-in-the-Hills story. See link to “Papa Smurf” story.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Comments?

What do you think of this story? With the recent phony doctor, dentist and other health professional stories lately do you think it has become too easy to obtain a fraudulent license from the DOH? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

Sources:

Pavuk, Amy. “Feds: Man Posed as Occupational Therapist, Worked at Local Hospitals.” Orlando Sentinel. (October 16, 2012). From: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-10-16/news/os-fake-therapist-indicted-20121016_1_occupational-therapist-local-hospitals-indictment-charges

Department of Justice. “Occupational Therapist Impersonator Charged With Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, And Identity Theft.” Department of Justice. (October 16, 2012). From: http://www.justice.gov/usao/flm/press/2012/oct/20121016_Lewis.html

WESH.com. “Feds Say Fake Therapist Worked at Central Fla. Hospitals.” WESH.com. (October 16, 2012). From: http://www.wesh.com/news/central-florida/Feds-say-fake-therapist-worked-at-Central-Fla-hospitals/-/11788162/17015634/-/o4imk8/-/index.html

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.

Copyright © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

Beware of These Illegal Business Arrangements in Healthcare

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Florida does not have a corporate practice of medicine prohibition like many other states do.  In other words, a physician is allowed to work as an employee or independent contractor of a corporation or other business entity owned by nonphysicians   However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule.

For dentists, optometrists and chiropractors there are specific statutory prohibitions on any member of that profession practicing his or her specialty while working for a group, practice or organization that is owned or controlled by one who is not a member of that profession.  These laws, a different one for each specialty, make it a felony to do so, as well as grounds for discipline against the professional’s license.  It is considered to be a separate felony offense for each day.

The main exceptions for these prohibitions include, for example, working for a hospital, working for a federal health care clinic, working for a not-for-profit charity health care clinic, and other limited exceptions.

There are All Treated the Same: Revoked License, Licensed in Another State But Not in Florida and Suspended License.

We have seen cases in which a dentist or chiropractor licensed in another state, but not in Florida, owned or operated a dental or chiropractic clinic in Florida.  This would be prohibited, of course.

In other cases, we have seen health professionals who have had their licenses revoked continue to own and operate or even “lease out” their practices to others.  The ownership or control of the practice by one with a revoked license would also be illegal.

We have seen cases in which a spouse or child of a deceased physician has continued to own and operate a clinic after the health professional died, when he or she was not a health professional.  This is illegal from the day the health professional died and there is no “grace period.”

In the Cases of Health Care Clinics and Pain Management Clinics…

In cases in which a member of the profession is allowed to work for a group, practice, clinic, corporation or other business entity that is not owned by health professionals, then that organization (again, with certain exceptions) is required to obtain a health care clinic license from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).  Professionals other than dentists, chiropractors and optometrists, could work, for example, for a corporation (corp.) or limited liability company (LLC) owned by an accountant and a businessman, as long as it had a valid health care clinic license.  Owning, operating or working for an unlicensed health care clinic which would be required by Florida law to be licensed, is a felony offense.

If you are a physician, nurse practitioner, other licensed health professional, you need to check the business’s licensure status with AHCA to make sure it is current and valid, before going to work there.

Additional situations include pain clinics and other types of health practices which constitute “risky” areas of practice.  If you are not aware of the almost daily occurrences of physicians getting busted, pharmacists getting arrested, and pharmacies and pain clinics being searched, closed and shuttered, you’re not reading the newspapers or watching TV.  Usually pain clinics are required to be licensed as health care clinics by AHCA and as pain medicine clinics by the Department of Health (DOH).  However, a regular medical practice is exempt from those requirements (with certain exceptions, of course).

We have encountered situations where a good physician is recruited into a very questionable practice setting by unscrupulous nonprofessionals who are merely using him or her.  Everything is placed in the physician’s name.  On paper it appears the physician is running a legitimate medical practice.  However, behind the scenes, the physician actually controls nothing.  It is clear that the whole setup is just a shell, a phony medical practice set up to skirt the law and avoid licensure.

We have seen medical practices and dental practices where a nonprofessional business person has control of all of the billings and collections, the employees, the bank accounts and all of the records.  The physician does not have control of anything, not even the practice’s bank account.  We have encountered several situations where the physician does not even have passwords to his/her own computers and software or keys to his/her own office.  We believe that such situations are sham operations set up to avoid statutory requirements.  A physician would be well warned to stay away from such situations.

Beware of Scams to Avoid the Law.

We have seen many cases where individuals, including lawyers and business people, have attempted to get creative to come up with schemes to try to get around the laws.  Often there may be a legal way to create an arrangement between licensed health professionals and unlicensed business people, to accomplish their goals, especially related to financial arrangements.

However, we have also seen many such schemes that were clearly illegal and meant to just put a facade on an obviously illegal arrangement.  When the criminal authorities start to investigate the behind-the-scenes people disappear, leaving the physician to pay the price. A physician or health care provider should have any such business arrangement reviewed in detail by a board certified health lawyer before he or she gets involved with it.  If you are thinking about investing in such a practice or arrangement, then we strongly recommend that you obtain an opinion letter from a board certified health lawyer as to the legality of the situation or arrangement.

Do Not Let Anyone Else Use Your Billing Number or Medicare Provider Number.

We have also been consulted on a number of occasions by physicians who were contacted by business people starting clinics allegedly seeking a “medical director” for their clinic, offering the physician a large amount of money without having to perform any real work.  However, they just need to use the physician’s Medicare number to bill with for a few months until their Medicare number is approved.  Such enterprises usually turn out to be Medicare billing fraud schemes.  The company uses the physician’s Medicare number to bill for hundreds or thousands of physician patient visits in patient’s homes, nursing homes or assisted living facilities (ALFs) that never occur.  When Medicare stops paying and starts investigating, the ones behind the scheme disappear and leave the physician holding the bag.

Avoid such schemes.  Avoid any situation where someone else “needs” to use your Medicare number for services that you are not actually performing yourself.  If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  You will wind up paying a heavy price later on if you fall for it,

There are Many Illegal Situations Which Carry Heavy Consequences.

Many of the above situations can result in criminal prosecutions.  In addition, these are also usually grounds for discipline on a health professional’s license.  In many cases, all fees collected while operating illegally must be refunded.  In the case where pain management is involved, the penalties are much higher than in other situations.  Where Medicare and Medicaid patients or billings may be involved, the risks of criminal prosecution and very large monetary penalties are much greater.

Contact a Health Care Attorney Experienced in Negotiating and Evaluating Physician and Health Professional’s Business Transactions.

At the Health Law Firm we provide legal services for all health care providers and professionals. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, durable medical equipment suppliers (DME), medical students and interns, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, pain management clinics, nursing homes, and any other health care provider.

The services we provide include reviewing and negotiating contracts, preparing contracts, helping employers and employees enforce contracts, advice on setting aside or voiding contracts, litigation of contracts (in start or federal court), business transactions, professional license defense, opinion letters, representation in investigations, fair hearing defense, representation in peer review and clinical privileges hearings, litigation of restrictive covenant (covenants not to compete), Medicare and Medicaid audits, commercial litigation, and administrative hearings.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Comments?

What do you think about this blog? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

 
“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.

Copyright © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Phony Dentist Gets Busted for Child Abuse After Injuring Teen During Illegal Dental Procedures

George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A Miami man, his wife and their daughter have been charged with child abuse following two alleged dental procedures that left a 14-year-old girl permanently disfigured. According to a number of sources, the three were arrested on September 12, 2012, at their home-operated dental office.

Click here to see the man’s arrest affidavit from the Miami Police Department.

14-Year-Old Left in Pain and Disfigured After Procedures.

According to the Miami Herald, when the 14-year-old girl broke a front tooth, she and her mother went to the man, who claimed to be a dentist when he lived in Cuba. He offered to perform the dental work in the back room of his home office for $500. Instead of fixing the tooth, the article states the man filed all four of the girl’s front teeth down to the gums. He then allegedly fit her with a permanent bridge, which the mother described as an “iron bridge painted white with the form of teeth.”

The victim was allegedly left with swollen and blackened gums, according to the Miami Herald. She is now under the care of a licensed dentist at the University of Miami.

To read the entire article from the Miami Herald, click here.

Fake Dentist and Family Face Child Abuse and Performing Dental Services Without a License.

The fake dentist and his wife, who apparently witnessed the procedures, face charges of child abuse, child negligence and performing dental services without a license. The couple’s daughter faces a charge of child negligence.

The license status of almost all health care professionals can easily be checked online. In Florida, license verification for all health care professionals can be checked on the Florida Department of Health (DOH) website. Hint: If they don’t have a license, they ain’t a legitimate health professional.

This case was investigated by the Miami Police Department, the DOH and a Miami-Dade County team that fights pharmaceutical crime. Detectives suspect more victims will soon come forward.

Is Miami a Hotbed for Phony Physicians?

We have seen many reports on phony doctors, dentists, nurse practitioners and others practicing in the Miami area over the past decade. Many of these operate surreptitiously and prey on immigrants and foreign nationals. Others operate blatantly and publicly advertise.

Plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures appear to be the most likely area to be “practiced” by the imposters. We have seen or heard reports of physicians performing surgery in hotel rooms. We have read reports of walk-in plastic surgery offices where animal sedatives were used to sedate the patient and plastic knee replacements were used as breast implants.

More Stories on Fake Physicians and Other Health Professionals to Come.

In the near future on this blog, we will include additional articles on fake doctors and health professionals, some old, some new.

To see a recent blog on a Florida teen impersonating a physician’s assistant (PA), click here. You can also read the story of a fake plastic surgeon in New York by clicking here.

Sound Off.

Have you heard of any stories about fake health care professionals? What do you think if this story? Leave your comments below.


Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Providers in DOH Cases.

The Health Law Firm represents dentists, pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses, and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Department of Health (DOH), and other law enforcement agencies.

If you are aware of an investigation of you or your practice, or if you have been contacted by the DEA or DOH, contact an experienced health law attorney immediately.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Sanchez, Melissa. “Little Havana Man Accused of Injuring Girl with Illegal Dental Work.” Miami Herald. (September 12, 2012). From: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/12/2999610/little-havana-man-accused-of-injuring.html

CBS Miami. “Girl Leaves Dental Dungeon With Mangled Teeth; 3 Charged With Child Abuse.” CBS Miami. (September 12, 2012). From: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/09/12/girl-leaves-dental-clinic-with-disfigured-teeth-3-charged-with-child-abuse/

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.

Copyright © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Phony Plastic Surgeon Pleaded Guilty to Performing Surgeries on Patients Without a Medical License

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A fake New York plastic surgeon was convicted on September 7, 2012, for performing cosmetic surgeries between April 2011 and December 2011, without a medical license. He’s also accused of completing the surgeries without general anesthesia and permanently disfiguring his patients. This is all according to the New York Attorney General’s (AG) Office.

To see the entire press release on this arrest, click here.

Phony Plastic Surgeon Will Spend Time in Prison.

According to New York AG, Eric Schneiderman,  the fake plastic surgeon allegedly admitted to soliciting patients from a full-service spa, holding himself out as a licensed physician, and performing liposuction and other invasive procedures on patients without a medical license.

An article on Stamford Daily Voice stated the man pleaded guilty to unlicensed practice of a profession. He will spend six months in prison followed by five years of probation. He will also be responsible for paying $8,700 in restitution.

 

A teenager in Florida was recently found guilty of impersonating a Physician’s Assistant (PA). I also blogged about this case. To read that blog, click here.

The license status of most health care professionals can be checked online. In Florida, license verification for all health care professionals can be checked on the Florida Department of Health (DOH) website.

Two Others Co-Defendants in This Case.

The Stamford Daily Voice names two other men that are accused of working with the fake plastic surgeon. One, who is also allegedly not a licensed doctor, is still at large. The other is a licensed physician and has charges pending against him.

With our luck, they are probably here in Florida somewhere, most likely practicing medicine. South Beach and Miami seem to attract their unfair share of fake plastic surgeons and phony doctors, although the rest of the state seems to get plenty, too.

Click here to read the Stamford Daily Voice article.

More stories on Fake Physicians and Other Health Professionals to Come.

In the near future on this blog, we will include additional articles on fake doctors and health professionals, some old, some new.

Have you heard any stories of fake doctors? Tell us what you think of this blog.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Buzzeo, Anthony. “Man Pleads Guilty to Posting as a Doctor in Stamford.” Stamford Daily Voice. (September 7, 2012). From: http://stamford.dailyvoice.com/police-fire/man-guilty-posing-doctor-stamford

Attorney General’s Office. “A. G. Schneiderman Announces Conviction Of Fake Plastic Surgeon Who Disfigured Patients.” Attorney General New York. (September 7, 2012). From: http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/g-schneiderman-announces-conviction-fake-plastic-surgeon-who-disfigured-patients

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.Copyright © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Human Body Parts Discovered in Self-Storage Facility that Belonged to a Former Medical Examiner

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A former medical examiner, who is accused of keeping the body parts of more than 100 people in his Pensacola storage facility, was arrested September 7, 2012. He now faces a felony charge of improper storage of hazardous waste, a misdemeanor charge of “nuisance injurious to public health” and driving with a suspended license, according to a number of sources.

To see the case against the former medical examiner, click here.

It is reported that he had previously been fired as a medical examiner in Jackson County, Missouri. His medical license was allegedly revoked in Missouri. A check of the Florida Department of Health (DOH) licensing website lists his license as null and void. To see his license verification, click here. He could also have some serious points added to his driving license, making his auto insurance premiums go up (if convicted of the traffic offense).

Livers, Brains and Hearts Allegedly Found in Storage Facility.

According to an article in the Pensacola News Journal, the former medical examiner rented the self-storage unit for about three years. On August 22, 2012, he defaulted on his payments, and the unit was auctioned off.

When the storage facility was auctioned off, the new purchaser allegedly discovered 10 cardboard boxes containing human remains stored in a liquid. Garbage bags containing human remains packaged in soda cups and plastic food containers were also found.

This is one auction I doubt you are going to see on “Auction Hunters” or “Storage Wars” on television.

According to a related Associated Press article, the District 1 Medical Examiner’s Office in Pensacola said that the remains appear to have come from private autopsies that were performed between 1997 and 2007 at funeral homes in the Florida Panhandle and in Tallahassee. Allegedly 111 containers filled with body parts, including hearts, brains, a liver, and a lung were found.

Although there were lots of brains found, there were no “Abbie Normal” brains reportedly found.

For a related story regarding zombie outbreaks in Florida and the Florida Legislature’s effort to control them by banning bath salts, click here.

Former Medical Examiner Fired from Medical Examiner’s Office in Pensacola.

The former medical examiner reportedly worked at the District 1 Medical Examiner’s Office in Pensacola from 1997 to 2003. He was fired for allegedly having a large backlog of cases and failing to complete autopsy reports in a timely manner.

Investigation Continues.

Right now, the former medical examiner faces a felony charge of improper storage of hazardous waste, a misdemeanor charge of “nuisance injurious to public health” and driving with a suspended license. These charges alone could land him in prison for more than five years. 

The District 1 Medical Examiner’s Office in Pensacola is contacting all the family members of the decedents whose body parts were found. If the family did not give permission to the former doctor, more charges could be coming. Exactly how these body parts are being identified has not been made clear.

Click here to read the entire Pensacola News Journal article.

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Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, license complaints, administrative hearings, business and commercial litigation, and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Heisig, Eric. “Charges Filed Against Doctor in Body Parts Cases.” Pensacola News Journal. (September 9, 2012). From: http://www.pnj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012309080010

Associated Press. “Ex-Medical Examiner Charged After Human Organs Found in Storage Unit.” Associated Press (September 8, 2012). From: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-09-08/news/os-human-organs-storage-unit-florida-20120908_1_human-organs-storage-unit-medical-examiner

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.

Copyright © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Appeal Court Rules AHCA Was Justified in Withdrawing Home Health Agency’s License Application

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

The First District Court of Appeal has ruled that the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) had substantial justification to withdraw a home health agency’s application for licensure in a recent case. To view the opinion, click here.

Home Health Agency Challenged AHCA’s Decision to Withdraw Application.

AHCA withdrew the home health care facility’s license application because the application allegedly contained insufficient information. The application did not provide enough information for AHCA to verify actual ownership of the facility.

The home health agency challenged AHCA’s decision. The administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled that AHCA incorrectly withdrew the application. According to the ALJ, the application was complete, and the home health agency met all the requirements for licensure at the time the application was submitted. To view the recommended order, click here.

Home Health Agency Awarded Attorney’s Fees by ALJ.

After receiving this favorable order, the home health agency moved for attorney’s fees pursuant to section 57.111(4)(a), Fla. Stat. The home health agency argued that AHCA had no justification for withdrawing its license application. At a separate hearing, the ALJ awarded attorney’s fees to the home health care facility.

Appeal Court Reverses ALJ’s Ruling.

AHCA appealed this decision. On its license application, the home health agency had allegedly claimed that one person had sole ownership of the facility. However, a letter informing AHCA of litigation contesting the sole ownership claim was included with the license application. According to the court of appeal, given the uncertainty the home health agency created concerning its ownership, there was substantial justification for AHCA’s action. The ALJ’s ruling was reversed by the court of appeal.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Home Health Agency Cases.

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent home health agencies and home health agency employees in a number of different matters including incorporation, preparing contracts, defending the facility against malpractice claims, licensing and regulatory matters, administrative hearings, and routine legal advice.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources Include:

Agency for Health Care Administration v. MVP Health, Inc. 74 So. 3d 1141 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011)

Smallwood, Mary F. “Attorney’s Fees.” Administrative Law Section Newsletter. (Apr. 2012).

About the Author:  George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

Have You Updated Your Address with the Department of Health?

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A recent case involving the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) demonstrates how important it is for all professional licensees, including Department of Health (DOH) licensees, to immediately update their addresses with the licensing agency when there is change.

Appellant in Recent Case Filed an Appeal to Reverse Revokation of His  License Application.

In Griffis v. Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the appellant filed an appeal of the DBPR’s order revoking two of his licenses. The order also imposed a fine and ordered the appellant to pay restitution to a customer. The order was rendered on January 26, 2010. The appellant did not file his notice of appeal until October 15, 2010, over nine months later.

Court Dismissed Appeal As Untimely.

The First District Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal as untimely. The limitations period for the filing of a notice of appeal of an administrative action is jurisdictional. Because the notice of appeal was not filed within 30 days of rendition, the untimely filing precluded the court from exercising jurisdiction over the appeal. To view the opinion, click here.

Appellant Argued Late Filing Should Be Excused Because He Was Incarcerated.

The appellant argued that his late filing should be excused. According to the appellant, he did not learn of the final order until October 2010 because he was incarcerated at the time the order was issued. The Department did not send the order to the state correctional facility where the appellant was located, but rather to the address the appellant had on file with the Department.

Court Ruled Appellant’s Reason for Late Filing Was Unacceptable.

The First District Court of Appeal ruled that the appellant’s failure to timely file his notice of appeal could not be excused due to his incarceration. According to the court, as a licensee of the Department, the appellant had a statutory duty to keep the Department informed of his correct current mailing address. Having failed to do so, the appellant could not then complain that the Department failed to provide him with notice of entry of the order and of his time limit for appealing the order. Section 455.275(2), Florida Statutes, states:

Service by regular mail to a licensee’s last known address of record with the department constitutes adequate and sufficient notice to the licensee for any official communication to the licensee by the board or the department except where other service is required pursuant to s. 455.225.

Health Professionals Must Update Addresses With All Relevant Departments to Avoid Untimely Filing.

All health providers who maintain a license with the DOH and all other Florida agencies  must update their addresses with the agency when there is a change. If an incorrect address is on file, a health provider risks losing the right to timely respond to an investigation or file an appeal. 

A correct address is also important so as to be able to receive communications from the agency such as important regulatory changes, as well as notices of required filings, proposed actions, proposed fines, etc. In addition, failing to maintain a correct address with the DOH or other agencies could lead to an additional charge of failure to carry out a statutory duty. This also applies to Medicare providers, who can risk termination of their Medicare number or billing privileges if they do not update each of their addresses (e.g., mailing address, physical address of practice, payment address, etc.) on file with Medicare as soon as there is a change. For more information on this, please see our previous blog post.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Department of Health and Other Agency Administrative Actions.

If you have been notified of an investigation or an adverse action taken against your license by the DOH or other agency, it is imperative that you file all documents and appeals in a timely manner. An experienced health law attorney will be able to assist you in submitting all necessary materials by the deadline.

The Health Law Firm represents all health providers in legal matters involving the DOH, Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), Board of Medicine, Board of Nursing, Board of Pharmacy, Board of Dentistry, Medicare and Medicaid programs, and other administrative agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources Include:

Griffis v. Department of Business and Professional Regulations. 69 So. 3d 958 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012)

Smallwood, Mary F. “Appeals.” Administrative Law Section Newsletter. (Apr. 2012).

About the Author:  George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

Orlando-based Assisted Living Facilities Appeal ALJ Decision, Win Case Against AHCA

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Two related assisted living facilities (ALFs) based in Orlando won a case against the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) on appeal. The First District Court of Appeal heard the case and filed an opinion in favor of the ALFs on November 30, 2011.

 To view the opinion in this case, click here.

Appeals Court Dismissed Three Complaints Made by AHCA.

On appeal, the ALFs challenged a final order issued by AHCA. The amended final order revoked the ALFs’ licenses, denied their licensure renewal applications, and imposed administrative fines. 

After conducting an investigation, AHCA filed a four count administrative complaint. The court of appeal dismissed AHCA’s conclusion that the first three counts were proven. The appeal court dismissed these counts because they consisted of uncorroborated hearsay.

AHCA Alleged ALFs’ Owners Operated Third Facility Without a Valid License.

The fourth count against the ALFs alleged that the ALFs’ owners/administrators operated a third Florida facility without obtaining a valid license or qualifying for a license exemption. The ALFs argued that AHCA failed to present any witness at the administrative hearing who had first-hand knowledge that the facility in question was providing personal services “for a period of 24 hours to one or more adults who are not relatives of the owner or administrator.” These are material elements of the statutory definition of assisted living facility that AHCA was required to prove.

AHCA Offered Testimony from the ALFs’ Employees at Administrative Hearing.

At the administrative hearing, AHCA offered testimony from an employee who worked at the third facility from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. She testified that the facility had five or six residents when she worked there for six weeks in Summer 2009. She said that she never saw a resident leave the facility at the end of the day or arrive in the morning.

In the recommended order, the administrative law judge (ALJ) found that there was no evidence presented by the ALFs that the residents were transported to another location at night. Click here to view the recommended order.

Court of Appeal Rules ALJ Improperly Shifted the Burden of Proof, Reverses Final Order.

The First District Court of Appeal ruled that the ALJ improperly shifted the burden of proof to the ALFs. The burden was misplaced when the ALJ suggested that the ALFs should have provided proof that the residents were transported out of the facility during the night. According to the court of appeal, it was AHCA’s burden to establish that the facility was an unlicensed ALF. Furthermore, the court ruled that the testimony offered by AHCA did not foreclose the possibility that these residents were at the facility for periods less than 24 hours. Therefore, the court ruled that AHCA did not meet its burden of proof. The final order was reversed.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Assisted Living Facilities.

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent assisted living facilities (ALFs) and ALF employees in a number of different matters including incorporation, preparing contracts, defending the facility against malpractice claims, licensing and regulatory matters, administrative hearings, and routine legal advice.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources Include:

Smallwood, Mary F. “Adjudicatory Proceedings.” Administrative Law Section Newsletter. (Apr. 2012).

LeadingAge Florida. “Florida Supreme Court Requested to Hear ALF Case.” LeadingAge Florida. (2012). From: http://www.fahsa.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=96

About the Author:  George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.