Criminal medical malpractice charges in Pennsylvania
If you happen to have violated any of federal or state laws in Pennsylvania as a healthcare provider or doctor, you need a skilled legal representative by your side to defend you against criminal medical malpractice charges while you focus on earning a living and saving lives in the hospital.
Handling a criminal medical malpractice case can be a headache. To help you visualize how big of a headache this particular area of criminal law is, we asked our experienced criminal medical malpractice defense attorney in Pittsburgh to outline a list of reasons why you, as a medical professional in Pennsylvania, may face healthcare-related charges.
- Patient brokering. You may face imprisonment and hefty fines if the prosecutor can prove that you engaged in what is known as “patient brokering,” which is the practice of paying third parties for referring patients to you or your facility. “Why is it a crime?” you may wonder. Because the patient who is being directed is fooled into thinking that he or she is being referred to the doctor or facility that best suits his or her medical condition and needs. More often than not, patient brokering occurs for financial gain, disregarding the needs and best interests of patients.
- Drug trafficking. If you are a pain management doctor, you have probably been warned about this one. A medical professional in Pennsylvania can be charged with drug trafficking if a prosecutor proves that the doctor or pharmacist prescribed controlled substances to patients who did not have a legitimate medical need for it, and that the doctor was guided by financial gain.
- Healthcare fraud, which refers to the claiming of Medicare or Medicaid health care reimbursement to which the claimant is not entitled.
- Kickbacks (do not confuse with patient brokering). A kickback refers to the practice of doctors receiving money from drug manufacturers, pharmacies, or healthcare providers to prescribe certain medications or encourage / instruct patients to go to a specific pharmacy or healthcare provider, which paid the doctor for the illegal referral.
- Filing a false claim. You can be charged with a crime in Pennsylvania for filing a claim for healthcare goods or services you have not provided. You can be found guilty of violating the Federal and State False Claims Act if a prosecutor proves that you duplicated patient records, overbilled insurance companies, or violated other conditions of the Act.
- Unlawful practice of medicine. Under Pennsylvania law, you are prohibited from treating patients without the proper education, training, medical license, or by using unproven methods.
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations. You can be charged with a crime if you violate any of the security standards imposed by the HIPAA to protect patients’ privacy and certain health care information that is held or transferred in electronic and physical form.
- Abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of patients.
- Providing unnecessary treatment for financial compensation. The healthcare system rewards medical professionals for the number of successful procedures, surgeries, and treatments performed, which prompts some doctors to order and perform unnecessary medical procedures for financial compensation.
- Unreasonable rates or charges. A medical professional can be charged with a crime if a prosecutor proves that the doctor has unreasonable rates or charges.
If you are facing any of the above-mentioned criminal charges, do not hesitate to speak to our Pittsburgh criminal medical malpractice defense lawyer at SMA Law Group. After all, medical malpractice crimes carry harsh penalties such as imposing a 20-year prison sentence and hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) in fines.