Michigan Oncologist Dr. Farid Fata – Medicare Fraud, Villian or Cancer Patient Savior?

 On August 6, 2013, a Criminal Complaint was filed against Michigan Oncologist Dr. Farid Fata in Federal Court in the county of Oakland in the Eastern District of Michigan.  The Defendant was charged by the U.S. Government with Healthcare Fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1347.

In an affidavit in support of the Complaint, Special Agent Brian Fairweather who was employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) alleges the following violations:

  • Healthcare Fraud – 18 U.S.C. 1347
  • Distribution of Controlled Substances – 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1)
  • Money Laundering – 18 U.S.C. 1956 and 18 U.S.C. 1957
  • Payment or receipt of Healthcare Kickbacks – 42 U.S.C. 1320a-7(b)(1)(A) and 42 U.S.C. 1320a-7(b)(2)(A)

More specifically, the Complaint alleges the following:

  • Administration of unnecessary chemotherapy to patients in remission
  • Deliberate misdiagnosis of patients having cancer to justify unnecessary cancer treatment
  • Administration of chemotherapy to end-of-life patients who will not benefit from the treatment
  • Deliberate misdiagnosis of patients with cancer to justify expensive testing
  • Fabrication of other diagnoses such as anemia and fatigue to justify unnecessary hematology treatments
  • Distribution of controlled substances to patients without medical necessity

In a Business Insider article written by Christina Sterbenz entitled Cancer Doctor Allegedly Prescribed $35 Million Worth of Totally Unnecessary Chemotherapy,federal judge Sean Cox set Fata’s bail at $9 million supporting the argument made by the government that Dr. Fata is a flight risk and has access to substantial assets.

The article also depicts the death of two patients caused or accelerated by the activities of Dr. Fata:

  • Barbara Laboisonniere’s father Sydney allegedly received chemo he didn’t need from Fata, Fox News reported. Doctors originally told Sydney, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, to enjoy his last four to six months with his family. Fata, however, allegedly promised to prolong his life to 12 months. After aggressive rounds of chemo with only week breaks in between, Sydney died on the experimental treatment. “The way my father died was very unnecessary and very traumatic for my family,” Laboisonnier said.
  • The FBI also alleges that after one patient fell and hit his head in Fata’s office, the doctor told him he should complete chemo before going to the hospital, according to the AP. The patient reportedly died from his head injury.

While time and the evidence presented at court will determine whether in fact Dr. Fata is a Medicare Villian or a Cancer Patient Savior, we would like to report the experiences of one patient who we know personally.  During the course of a several year period, a close friend of ours who resides in Bloomfield Hills Michigan has been a patient of Dr. Fata. He has reported to us that throughout this period, Dr. Fata was very professional in the handling of his case.  This patient believes that he received correct and proper treatment and that Dr. Fata is an extremely accomplished oncologist.  He is unaware of any fraudulent Medicare billings made on behalf of Dr. Fata for his own treatment.

Please be advised that we are not intending to pass any judgment on the government’s case nor are we taking sides and supporting Dr. Fata. We would be remiss in writing this article if we did not pass along to our readers the personal experiences of one of his patients.

 


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