A prominent anesthesiologist in upstate New York has pleaded guilty to charging the University of Rochester Medical Center for nearly $1.5 million worth of anesthesia services that he never performed.
Doron Feldman, MD, who worked for CGF Anesthesia and Associates in Buffalo, now faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of New York. The scheme involved Debra Bulter, the former administrator of the medical center's anesthesia department, who processed the payments from the inside between 2008 and 2010. She has been convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering and is awaiting sentencing.
Dr. Feldman, whose faculty appointment at URMC was terminated in July 2013, received approximately $630,000 of the $1,460,000 in fraudulent charges, according to the U.S. attorney's office. His sentencing is scheduled for late September.
"Attempts to steal money are always wrong, but when the scheme involves health care, such fraud drives up the costs for all Americans," says U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr. "What makes this crime even worse is that the defendant violated his oath, his employer and the public."
A spokesman for URMC says Dr. Feldman's plea agreement is the result of a continuing investigation by federal authorities that began when a 2012 internal audit revealed possible evidence of criminal activity. The spokesman says the university is working with authorities to recover the stolen funds.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick, who investigated the case at URMC, would not comment on whether Dr. Feldman is being investigated for similar indiscretions at other facilities.
The attorney for Dr. Feldman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. CGF's attorney declined an opportunity to speak about the charges.