Doctor convicted in $154 million surgery scam

A 65-year-old doctor has been convicted of performing unnecessary and dangerous surgeries on more than 160 people in a $154-million medical insurance scam that lured patients by promising them cash or low-cost cosmetic surgeries.

Dr. Michael Chan of Cerritos, one of 19 defendants accused of fraudulently billing medical insurance companies, pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court to 40 felony counts, including conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and insurance fraud. He faces up to 28 years in state prison.

Nearly 3,000 people across the U.S. allegedly agreed to undergo unnecessary procedures such as sweaty palm surgeries and colonoscopies at the Unity Outpatient Surgery Center, a Buena Park facility which is now closed.

Recruiters, known as “cappers,” targeted employees from businesses in 39 states who were covered by PPO insurance plans. Prosecutors likened them to “body snatchers.”

Patients, who typically received between $300 and $1,000 per surgery, were allegedly coached on how to describe their symptoms by the cappers who then scheduled their surgeries, assisted them with paperwork and arranged their travel…

Along with Dr. William Hampton Jr. of Seal Beach and Dr. Mario Rosenberg of Beverly Hills, Chan was accused of ignoring basic medical protocol, such as failing to obtain medical information, not meeting with patients beforehand and neglecting to follow up.

The surgeries were mainly performed on weekends. All three doctors were arrested in 2007.

Nine defendants pleaded guilty and have been sentenced, including Hampton, who was sentenced to 16 years in state prison. In addition to doctors and cappers, the defendants include an attorney, an accountant and administrators.

What a delightful crew of all-American crooks. I’m especially outraged because like a number of folks on Medicare, my best option [so far] is a Medicare Advantage PPO – that’s a preferred provider organization. My somewhat mediocre coverage is via Humana – since United Healthcare, yes, that AARP-sponsored wonder, pulled Medicare Advantage coverage from New Mexico last year. Another big-hearted savior.

While the Kool Aid Party and their Republican little brothers and sisters whine and worry about individual old codgers and poor people in general having too much of a shot at decent medical care, the kind of people they rendezvous with at the 19th Hole of their fave country clubs are busy stealing millions of taxpayers dollars.

No surprises here other than the fact that one of these criminal fronts was shut down.

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