A Maryland doctor charged in an over-stenting scheme was slapped with an 8-year prison sentence and ordered to pay nearly $600,000 in restitution for defrauding Medicare and other health insurers.
Dr. John McLean, age 59, was also charged with ordering unnecessary tests and making false entries in patient records in order to bill Medicare and Medicaid for expensive stenting procedures.
Evidence uncovered in McLean’s trial suggested that he may have implanted as many as 100 unnecessary cardiac stents.
"The jury found that Dr. McLean egregiously violated the trust of his patients and made false entries in their medical records to justify implanting unneeded cardiac stents and billing for the surgery and follow-up care," U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said in response to the recent sentencing.
A lawsuit accusing senior staff at Peninsula Regional Medical Center of failing to address complaints against McLean cost the hospital $1.8 million in August, one month after McLean was convicted.
McLean had a private medical practice with hospital privileges at Peninsula Regional. From 2003 to 2007 he falsely recorded and exaggerated the presence of coronary blockages in patient medial records to justify stenting and billing insurance programs, according to the Dept. of Justice.
Peninsula Regional began investigating the hospital’s stenting records upon receiving an anonymous tip after McLean resigned his hospital privileges in 2007.
McLean is not the only Maryland doc at the center of a ruckus over improper stenting.
Dr. Mark Midei, a cardiologist at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Md., has been accused of implanting unnecessary stents in as many as 369 patients.
"Placing unnecessary stents in the hearts of patients is a crime of unthinkable proportions," special agent in charge for the U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services Nicholas DiGiulio said in prepared remarks. "A doctor who insists on practicing greed rather than good medicine will ultimately pay a heavy price."