Chicagoland physician misuses patient information, indicted for insurance fraud

Pranav Patel, MD, owner of Palos Medical Care in Palos Heights, Ill., was charged April 27 with insurance fraud after billing  Medicare and a private insurer $1 million for nonexistent treatments, the Chicago Tribune reports.

According to the 12-count indictment, Dr. Patel collected $950,000 in payments from Medicare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois between 2008 and 2013. Dr. Patel allegedly submitted fraudulent claims for medical tests and examinations he never administered, using some of his patients' names without their knowledge to submit the claims.

He is charged with seven counts of healthcare fraud, three counts of making false statements in relation to a healthcare matter and two counts of aggravated identity theft. Those fraud charges carry up to 10 years in prison, while the false statements are punishable by a maximum of five years. However, aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year sentence, the U.S. attorney in Chicago told Chicago Tribune.

Dr. Patel's arraignment is scheduled for May 15.

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