02 Jan California Dumps More Workers’ Compensation Physicians
If you’ve been injured at work, it’s important that you are treated fairly and comprehensively by your employer, health care providers, and your legal team. In an example from the state of California, we look at how inconsistent treatment opened the door to a much bigger workers’ compensation issue that isn’t limited to California.
In late 2017, the California Division of Workers’ Compensation announced that they’re suspending 21 more workers’ compensation providers in the state. That totals 115 suspended doctors in 2017 alone. These doctors are no longer allowed to treat claimants in accordance with the newly introduced Assembly Bill 1244. The bill became effective January 1, 2017 and demands that any physician or medical provider be suspended if there’s an “inability to perform duties safely” or criminal activity.
In the latest suspension sweep, five physicians had been part of illegal kickback schemes with Medicare, according to the regulator. The scheme involved prescribing medical equipment to patients who didn’t need it. All five of the physicians had been convicted in 2013, but were legally able to still be workers’ compensation physicians until the new bill was introduced.
There was also a scheme to charge Medicare for home-based services that were no longer happening. The bill was designed to especially target Medicare and Medi-Cal crimes, which is one of the most common type of crime stemming from false charges and bills. According to DWC Administrative Director George Parisotto, some of the newly suspended doctors had been involved in “multiple” Medicare billing schemes.
Some of the physicians are still serving multi-month sentences, while others completed their time served since their 2013 convictions. From conspiracy to commit health care fraud to being considered unfit to practice safely due to visual impairment, disabling hearing loss, and “probably dementia” (all in the same physician), California is committed to ensuring workers’ compensation physicians are fit and ethical.
These physicians were convicted for prescribing medications to numerous patients without an examination, having mental and physical illnesses themselves, and in some cases “gross negligence” paired with repeated negligent acts when treating patients. Throughout 2017, physicians had their medical licenses revoked for prescribing controlled substances such as opioids to patients with a history of addiction and abuse, performing surgery without proper medical indications, and even money laundering. Some were convicted of practicing medicine when it posed a “clear and immediate danger to public health and safety.”
Contact Jeffrey M. Bloom For A Free Workers’ Comp Consultation
Ensuring quality workers’ compensation doctors are the only physicians serving claimants is part of a quality workers’ compensation system. If you’re a claimant and have questions, contact Bloom Law Office online today to schedule a complimentary workers’ compensation consultation.