Dallas hospital co-founder admits to bribing physicians for high-volume surgeries

Megan Knowles - Print  | 

In an alleged $200 million healthcare fraud involving Dallas-based Forest Park Medical Center, one of the hospital's co-founders is pleading guilty, saying he recruited high-volume specialty physicians and paid them millions in bribes and kickbacks for surgeries, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Seven things to know:

1. The hospital billed patient insurance plans more than $500 million and collected over $200 million in paid claims from 2009 to 2013, according to the Morning News.

2. Andrew Beauchamp, the Forest Park co-founder who managed the now-defunct hospital, filed documents July 23 agreeing to plead guilty to conspiracy to pay and receive healthcare bribes and kickbacks, and commercial bribery. A judge has not yet accepted the plea.

3. Mr. Beauchamp is the sixth of 21 defendants to admit guilt in the case, in which physicians, recruiters and others received $40 million in bribes and kickbacks, according to prosecutors. His lawyer declined to comment, the Morning News reports. Mr. Beauchamp faces up to five years in prison.

4. Eight of the defendants are physicians. Seven pleaded not guilty and plan to take their case to a jury. The hospital's owners targeted bariatric and spinal surgeons because "their surgeries generated the most money," according to prosecutors.

5. Richard Toussaint, MD, another Forest Park co-founder, pleaded guilty last year. Dr. Toussaint, an anesthesiologist, was the first physician to plead guilty in the case, according to U.S. Justice Department records.

6. Mr. Beauchamp and Dr. Toussaint led the alleged scheme to hide bribes and kickbacks by disguising them as marketing payments and other forms of payment, according to prosecutors. The two men say the surgeons share equal blame in the case, according to their plea agreements.

7. The trial date is set for Oct. 22.

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