Appeals Allow Louisiana Cardiologist Convicted of Fraud to Remain Free

November 28, 2012

A former Lafayette cardiologist is asking to remain free pending a request that the U.S. Supreme Court hear an appeal of his 2009 health-care fraud conviction and 10-year prison sentence.

The Advocate reports Dr. Mehmood M. Patel, who is accused of billing insurers for more than $2 million in unnecessary heart procedures, has avoided prison while appealing his federal conviction for the past three years.

The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld Patel’s conviction sentence in August, and the court last week denied a request to reconsider the case.

Patel’s attorney, Amy Adelson, has asked the appeals court to allow Patel to remain free pending his request that the U.S. Supreme Court review the case.

“He is a convicted felon, and he should begin serving his sentence,” federal prosecutors wrote in court papers.

Patel’s attorney, Amy Adelson, has asked the appeals court to allow Patel to remain free pending his request that the U.S. Supreme Court review the case.

Adelson argues that the case is ripe for review by the high court and that Patel’s prosecution highlights the problems of using criminal laws to decide when procedures are deemed medically necessary.

Adelson has written in past court filings that the law should not criminalize a doctor’s judgment on how to treat a patient.

Prosecutors argue in court filings that Patel should begin serving his sentence now because it is unlikely the Supreme Court will hear the case or consider reversing his convictions on 51 counts of health care fraud.

Patel was accused of billing government and private insurers for more than $2 million in unnecessary heart procedures, mainly angioplasties and stents.

Prosecutors alleged that Patel lied to patients to get their approval for unnecessary tests and procedures and also falsified medical records to support the work.

 

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