15 indicted in $150M healthcare fraud scheme that allegedly involved a PA performing surgeries

A physician, his attorney and more than a dozen others have been indicted for their roles in one of the largest insurance fraud scams in California history, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Munir Uwaydah, MD, is accused of being involved in a vast conspiracy that involved attorneys and others illegally referring patients to his clinics in exchange for up to $10,000 a month.

Prosecutors also alleged a physician assistant, who had never attended medical school, performed operations on patients who were told a board-certified orthopedic surgeon would conduct their procedures. The operations were billed as if a surgeon performed them even though the PA allegedly wasn't even supervised by a surgeon, according to the report.

Prosecutors claim more than $150 million was fraudulently billed to insurance companies through the scheme.

Prosecutors unveiled the details of the alleged conspiracy on Tuesday when two indictments were unsealed. Among those named in the indictments are Dr. Uwaydah, his physician assistant and the billing manager at his medical practice.

David Johnson, MD, a physician working for Dr. Uwaydah, is also accused of overbilling insurance companies for prescription drugs and for medical examinations that were never performed.

Dr. Uwaydah is charged with conspiracy, insurance fraud, aggravated mayhem and capping — which entails illegal patient referrals.

This isn't the first time Dr. Uwaydah has faced these types of allegations. In 2009, the California Medical Board accused him of allowing his physician assistant to conduct procedures while patients were under anesthesia. The accusations resulted in Dr. Uwaydah being placed on probation for two years in 2010, according to the report.

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