Imagine what it would be like to experience an injury of some kind that required regular visits to a clinic in order to receive treatments to manage your pain. It’s a tough enough situation to be in, right? Now imagine walking up to said clinic only to be confronted with a notice taped to the front door that read the following: “Due to recent events, the office will be closed until further notice!”
Patients of Dr. Rassan M. Tarabein recently had that very experience. The Eastern Shore Neurology & Pain Center (ESNPC) in Daphne, Alabama has shut its doors in wake of the fact that its neurologist has been charged with health care fraud. Prior to its shut down, the clinic provided services relating to neurology and pain management, such as spinal injections.
As reported by GulfCoastNewsToday.com last week, Tarabein was arrested by law enforcement officials on federal and state criminal charges relating to Medicaid fraud and theft of property in the first degree. According to the report, the 58 year-old is also facing a 22-count indictment that charges him with making false statements relating to health care matters, lying to a federal agent, unlawfully distributing schedule II controlled substances and money laundering.
“As alleged, this neurologist operated a fraudulent medical practice that for years stole millions of dollars from health care programs and endangered the safety of his patients,” Acting United States Attorney Steve Butler of the Southern District of Alabama was quoted as saying in the report, “Federal and state investigators have worked diligently to expose the fraud. Now this physician must face the consequences of his actions.”
Keith Lane of Mobile, Alabama’s Local 15 news station also covered the story. In his report, Lane reveals that Tarabein faces potential prison sentences of one to 10 years for Medicaid fraud (a class C felony) and two to 20 years for first-degree theft of property (a class B felony). He details that Tarabein’s unlawful actions began sometime in 2004 and lasted right up until last month!
“Tarabein ran a money mill at the clinic, where he induced patients to continue to return to ESNPC so that he could bill health care benefit programs for medically unnecessary tests and procedures,” informs Lane. Apparently, the doctor’s objective was to make as much money as he could by fraudulently seeking payments from a long list of health care benefit programs including Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.
“As part of his scheme, Tarabein violated the traditional standards of care in his medical practice by, for example, failing to provide informed consent to patients about procedures, discriminating against Alabama Medicaid patients in services rendered, fraudulently documenting patient records and submitting false claims to insurance companies,” Lane reports.
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