Health Care Fraud May Soon Result in Permanent Revocation of Michigan Medical License

By: Louis C. Szura, Esq.

October 1, 2014

The Michigan legislature is seeking to expand the power of the Michigan Board of Medicine disciplinary subcommittee to permanently revoke physician licenses. Currently, the disciplinary subcommittee only has the power to permanently revoke a license for convictions of criminal sexual conduct. However, recent events involving Dr. Farid Fata, an oncologist accused of falsely diagnosing patients and prescribing unnecessary services in order to enrich himself, may be the catalyst to expanding the scope of the disciplinary subcommittee’s power to permanently revoke a license.

Recently introduced House Bills 5839-5842 would authorize the Board of Medicine disciplinary subcommittee to permanently revoke a physician’s professional license to practice if the physician engaged in a pattern of intentional fraudulent acts for personal financial gain and, in doing so, harmed the health of the patient under his or her care.

The proposed revisions would also expand the powers of the disciplinary subcommittee to allow sanctions for physicians convicted of serious crimes, such as assault with intent to commit murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, first-degree or second-degree murder, or manslaughter. And, if those various crimes occurred when acting within the health profession, they may also form the basis of permanent revocation of a professional license.

In addition, the proposed revisions would allow numerous other existing violations, such as incompetence, controlled substance misdemeanors, betrayal of professional confidence, etc., to result in permanent revocation. However, in order to warrant the sanction of permanent revocation, those violations must also include a finding of a pattern of intentional acts of fraud or deceit resulting in personal financial gain to the physician and harm to the health of the patients.

As they currently read, the proposed revisions do not define what would constitute a “pattern” of fraudulent activity or how to determine “harm to the health of the patient.”

All rights reserved. Copyright Vezina Law Group © 2014.