How Doctors Buy Their Way Out of Trouble

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From Reuters: “When federal enforcers alleged in 2015 that New York surgeon Feng Qin had performed scores of medically unnecessary cardiac procedures on elderly patients, they decided not to pursue a time-consuming criminal case.

Instead, prosecutors chose an easier, swifter legal strategy: a civil suit. Qin agreed to pay $150,000 in a negotiated settlement and walked free to perform more cardiac surgeries at his new solo practice in lower Manhattan.

Qin faced no judge or jury. He did not admit to wrongdoing. He maintained his license to practice. What’s more, neither Qin nor government officials were required to notify patients who purportedly were subjected to vascular surgical procedures they didn’t need. Those included fistulagrams to spot issues like narrowed blood vessels or clots, and angioplasties to open clogged coronary arteries.

Within months of the settlement, a registered nurse working for Qin at his Manhattan practice alerted authorities that something seemed amiss. The nurse, who ultimately turned whistleblower, alleged to federal prosecutors that the surgeon was performing unnecessary procedures on patients, mostly elderly Asian and Black immigrants whose care was covered by the public programs Medicare or Medicaid.

Prosecutors indicted Qin in 2018 on a felony count of fraud, which carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. But in 2021, in a deal brokered behind closed doors, prosecutors dropped that charge in favor of yet another civil settlement, court records detailing that agreement show.

Once again, Qin kept his New York license to practice with no restrictions; a restricted license is one of the few ways the public can learn that a doctor has been disciplined for bad behavior. Qin agreed to pay a total of $800,000 in annual installments ending in December 2025, deposited with the U.S. Department of the Treasury. As an added penalty, he was banned from billing public health programs until February 2025.

. . . The registered nurse who reported Qin to authorities in 2015 was stunned that the criminal charge was dropped.

‘A wealthy doctor bought his way out of jail,’ whistleblower Mark Favors told Reuters in his first public interview about the Qin case. ‘How many people get a deal like that?’

The answer, it turns out, is plenty.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. As one who was defamed with one of the made up, “invalid” DSM disorders,

    https://psychrights.org/2013/130429NIMHTransformingDiagnosis.htm

    for legitimate distress at 9.11.2001, and to cover up a “bad fix” on a broken bone – by an insane, child abuse covering up, and non-medically trained, psychologist who, eventually confessed to me – when she finally handed over her medical records. That she believed legitimate distress, caused by an event that was distressing to the entire world, was “depression caused by self” and caused by a “chemical imbalance” in my brain alone. Which is a totally insane belief system.

    And later I had the misfortune of dealing with a similarly criminal doctor in Chicago, who was finally convicted of fraud against Medicare and Medicaid – but he was never arrested or convicted for his appalling crimes against, likely the many well and independently insured patients he killed, or tried to kill, like me.

    https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndil/pr/oak-brook-doctor-sentenced-two-years-prison-connection-kickback-scheme-sacred-heart

    I totally agree, the lawyers are NOT doing their jobs. “‘A wealthy doctor bought his way out of jail,’ whistleblower Mark Favors told Reuters in his first public interview about the Qin case. ‘How many people get a deal like that?’

    The answer, it turns out, is plenty.”

    So the lawyers actually need to start doing their jobs, and taking cases against the criminal doctors.

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