“The health care fraud committed by this doctor is appalling. He risked the health of innocent, trusting patients and betrayed the medical community while stealing federal taxpayer dollars from the Medicare program. When criminals like Raja Reddy try to cover their crimes by obstructing a federal investigation, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” (Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent, Office of Inspector General, Department of Health & Human Services, Atlanta)
“. . . prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Nice comment, Mr. Jackson. But it isn’t true and you know it. But it certainly sounds nifty. We refer you to the last sentence of our assessment of the case here.
Dr. Rajashakher Reddy signed tens of thousands of radiology reports for over a dozen hospitals, where neither he nor any other radiologist reviewed the films.
It was 4 years ago this summer when a federal district court in Atlanta found a 41-year-old doctor guilty, in an appalling case of healthcare fraud for profit that endangered thousands of unknowing patients.
Rajashakher P. Reddy, a radiologist who operated a business known as Reddy Solutions, Incorporated, was convicted in a jury trial of perpetrating a scam to defraud multiple hospitals, by signing and submitting tens of thousands of CT scans, x-rays and mammograms, and other films that he never bothered to read.
“This physician fraudulently cut corners at the expense of the hospitals he worked for and the patients who were being treated. He produced tens of thousands of reports claiming to include his medical findings and diagnoses based on radiology studies that had been performed, when in fact all those interpretations had been performed by non-qualified medical assistants, or nobody at all.” (U.S. Attorney Sally Yates)
The jury found Reddy guilty on 20 charges of wire fraud (crimes committed via internet); 7 charges of mail fraud; 4 other charges of healthcare fraud, and one charge of obstruction of justice. The doctor was arrested in November 2009. The final verdict was read on July 25 2011.
According to federal prosecutors, Reddy’s company, RSI, provided radiology services – interpreting x-rays and other films – to various hospitals in the Southeast U.S. that did not have full-time radiology in-house. Routinely, hospital technicians would shoot the film, which Reddy and his staff would view remotely on their computer screens. RSI radiologist was to review the film, prepare and sign a report documenting medical conclusions, and transmit them back to the hospital. Reddy was the owner/operator of RSI as well as the main radiologist, supposedly interpreting the bulk of films and preparing reports.
But in fact, the prosecution was able to prove at trial that over at least an 8-month period that began in May 2007, Reddy was in the habit of signing and submitting thousands of reports without examining the films at all. Rather, he had non-physician techs review the films and prepare the reports. Sometimes he ordered his staff to sign his name and then forward the reports as if he had prepared them. Investigators learned that most of the time, Reddy never analyzed the films himself, and the RSI reports signed by him bore no physician-level diagnoses.
RSI’s own computer records proved that while Reddy had signed 70,000 radiology reports in 8 months, he actually reviewed fewer than 6,000. The staff members who did view most of the films were not qualified to interpret films at all.
The prosecution revealed that Reddy had fraudulently passed off reports prepared by non-physician staff thousands of times, to various hospitals – x-rays, CT scans, mammograms, and ultrasounds. Here are some of the hospitals known to have received RSI’s scam reports:
- Mountain Lakes Medical Center in Clayton, Georgia
- Upson Regional Medical Center in Thomaston, Georgia
- Bullock County Hospital in Union Springs, Alabama
- Crenshaw Community Hospital in Lucerne, Alabama
- Columbus Diagnostic Centers in Columbus, Georgia
In addition to medical fraud, Reddy was also found guilty of obstructing the investigation. A federal subpoena to RSI demanded a copy of the computer records. But the doctor directed his staff to incinerate those records, which falsely stated that he had studied the films. At trial the doctor’s staff testified that they were ordered by Reddy to send falsified records to the prosecution in response to the subpoena. The doctor instructed his staff to lie to federal investigators.
Reddy could have been sentenced to 25 years. Like most other criminal MDs, he received a slap on the scamming butt. He was sentenced to 4 years in federal prison and is eligible for release this Fall.
A pathetic 4 year sentence for faking 64,000 x-rays?
Here’s another look: