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Neurosurgeon's kickback trial set for June 25; Searcy doctor also target of whistleblower lawsuit.

For the Hong Kong judge Patrick Chan, see Court of Final Appeal
Patrick Chan (born December 31, 1990 in Ottawa) is a Canadian figure skater of Chinese descent. He is the 2007 World Junior silver medalist.
 in Canada thought he was an excellent neurosurgeon neurosurgeon

a physician who specializes in neurosurgery.

neurosurgeon A surgeon specialized in managing diseases of the brain, spine and peripheral nerves Meat & potatoes diseases Brain tumors, spinal cord disease Salary $245K + 15% bonus.

"Patrick is a very energetic, hard working, loyal [and] moral" surgeon, Dr. J Noun 1. Dr. J - United States basketball forward (born in 1950)
Erving, Julius Erving, Julius Winfield Erving
. Max Findlay, head of the division of neurosurgery neurosurgery /neu·ro·sur·gery/ (noor´o-sur?jer-e) surgery of the nervous system.

Surgery on any part of the nervous system.
 at the London Health Science Centre in Ontario, wrote in a January 2000 letter to the Arkansas State Medical Board. "He is committed to [the] best medical practice and to excellent patient care."

After Chan received his Arkansas medical license in 2000, though, complaints started pouring in to the medical board about Chan, who specialized in neck and back surgeries at the two Searcy hospitals that have since merged, Central Arkansas Hospital and White County Medical Center.

By 2003, lawsuits started appearing in White County Circuit Court accusing Chan of malpractice malpractice, failure to provide professional services with the skill usually exhibited by responsible and careful members of the profession, resulting in injury, loss, or damage to the party contracting those services.  and performing surgeries when they weren't medically necessary medically necessary Managed care adjective Referring to a covered service or treatment that is absolutely necessary to protect and enhance the health status of a Pt, and could adversely affect the Pt's condition if omitted, in accordance with accepted  in an attempt to increase revenue.

But the biggest blow against Chan, 43, of Searcy, came in September when he was charged in U.S. District Court with four counts of taking kickbacks from medical suppliers to use their products in Medicare and Medicaid Medicare and Medicaid

U.S. government programs in effect since 1966. Medicare covers most people 65 or older and those with long-term disabilities. Part A, a hospital insurance plan, also pays for home health visits and hospice care.

The charges center on Chan allegedly taking kickbacks on products distributed by Orthofix Inc. of McKinney, Texas McKinney is a city in Collin County, Texas (USA), the county seat and second in population to Plano. As of the 2006, the North Central Texas Council of Governments estimated the city population to be 102,853. , and other medical supplier companies. Chan allegedly cut a deal to receive half of all commissions Orthofix made off sales generated by Chan's surgeries, minus any amount necessary for tax purposes.

Chan is scheduled for trial on June 25. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison, a $25,000 fine or both, for each count. While Chan could receive the maximum of 20 years in prison, if convicted on all counts, that is unlikely because of the sentencing guidelines.

Chan's phone number in Searcy was unlisted and he couldn't be reached for comment.

Chan's criminal defense attorney, James Wyatt of Little Rock, said, "At this point we have pied pied

a coat color in dogs that consists of uneven patches or spots of color on a white or cream background.
 not guilty and there's a trial date. And how that resolves itself I don't have a crystal ball to tell you, but we're just defending against it at this point."

A spokesperson for Orthofix was unavailable for comment.

Whistleblower whis·tle·blow·er or whis·tle-blow·er or whistle blower  
One who reveals wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority: "The Pentagon's most famous whistleblower is . .

Chan is also facing a whistleblower lawsuit from a medical supply salesman who is suing Chan on behalf of the government for allegedly submitting false claims to Medicare and Medicaid.

John Thomas
:In the United Kingdom, John Thomas is sometimes used as a euphemism for the penis.

John Thomas is the name of: A politician:
, who was an employee of Nu Med Technologies Inc. of Tulsa, sold instruments and devices used in spinal surgery that were almost exclusively made by Medtronic Sofamor Danek Inc. He has sued Chan in U.S. District Court in Little Rock in an attempt to recover damages on behalf of the government under the False Claims Act.

Chan's attorney in the civil case, Stuart P. Miller of Little Rock, has asked for the case to be dismissed. That motion is pending.

Thomas also alleged that several medical suppliers--including Michael Bailey Michael Bailey or Mike Bailey may refer to:
  • Michael Bailey (businessman)
  • Michael Bailey (Canadian football)
  • Mike Bailey (weatherman)
  • Mike Bailey (actor)
  • J. Michael Bailey, psychologist
, president of the Bailey Management Group Inc. of Little Rock--were part of the kickback The seller's return of part of the purchase price of an item to a buyer or buyer's representative for the purpose of inducing a purchase or improperly influencing future purchases.  conspiracy.

Bailey's attorney, Chuck Banks of Little Rock, has asked the court to dismiss Bailey and Bailey Management as defendants because Thomas failed to link either to any false claims that were allegedly submitted to the government.

"We don't believe that case has merit," Banks said last week. "My client has a distinguished career in the medical device community [and] a good reputation. And we filed a motion to dismiss, and we look forward to that being granted."

That motion is pending.

One of Thomas' attorneys, Michael Mitchell Michael Mitchell is an indigenous former Australian rules footballer for the Claremont Football Club in the WAFL and the Richmond Football Club in the VFL/AFL. He achieved All-Australian selection in 1985 and 1986, while playing with Claremont.  of Little Rock, said he wasn't sure exactly how much Chan billed Medicare and Medicaid, but the total could be in the millions. Thomas will get to pocket 15 to 25 percent of any money he recovers on behalf of the government.

While awaiting trial, Chan, who surrendered his medical license in October, is free on a $4 million cash bond and a pledge of $290,000 worth of property, which includes some of his medical equipment. Chan, though, must stay inside his Searcy home and can leave only between 9 and 11 a.m. on Tuesdays for shopping and running errands.

Better Days

Chan received his medical degree from the University of Alberta (Canada) in 1990. In 1997, he went to work for the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham UAB began in 1936 as the Birmingham Extension Center of the University of Alabama. Because of the rapid growth of the Birmingham area, it was decided that an extension program for students who had difficulties which prevented them from studying in Tuscaloosa was needed. , where he seemed to excel.

"[Chan] is a ... caring physician," wrote Dr. Christopher Dr. John R. Christopher, known popularly as "Dr. Christopher" was one of very few nationally prominent doctors of herbal medicine of the middle third of the 20th century, a "dark ages" of herbalism and was responsible for the herbal renaissance of the 1960s.  Y. Cai, the chief resident in neurological neurological, neurologic

pertaining to or emanating from the nervous system or from neurology.

neurological assessment
evaluation of the health status of a patient with a nervous system disorder or dysfunction.
 surgery at Birmingham, in an undated un·dat·ed  
1. Not marked with or showing a date: an undated letter; an undated portrait.

 letter in Chan's file at the Arkansas State Medical Board. "He has excellent communication skills with the patient and their family. He is fondly remembered by all those who have worked with him in Birmingham."

Other doctors who worked with Chan in the 1990s didn't have a problem with his medical skills.

"We found him to be a very dedicated, interested and technically excellent surgeon," wrote Dr. P.B.R. Allen of Edmonton, Alberta, in a January 2000 letter to the Arkansas State Medical Board. "He has always demonstrated the highest personal and professional integrity."

Chan told the board in a May 2000 letter that he was "very excited and proud to be able to join the medical community in Searcy to provide the very unique and much needed neurosurgical and spine services."

And he planned on working himself ragged.

"I have decided that I will be on call every day, every night, and every weekend for at least the first 12-18 months of my practice," Chan wrote. "I am used to working very long hours in my practice. In the past, I have worked for nearly 16 months without taking a vacation. These facts are cited merely to emphasize that I do have the ambition, tenacity, endurance, determination, and the ability to make things work."

But things didn't work.

Early Warning Signs

Dr. Scott Schlesinger of Little Rock warned the State Medical Board in a letter dated Jan. 31, 2002, that nurses were having trouble reaching Chan or an on-call substitute when a patient needed attention.

"If Dr. Chan has no one covering for him, this could pose a significant problem to the patients he cares for," Schlesinger wrote. "I want to bring it to your attention that we feel it is imperative that Dr. Chan have someone in his community willing to cover for his patients that he chooses to care for."

Chan, in his response to the board, said he had no excuse for forgetting to arrange physician coverage when he was unavailable.

"I WILL BE MORE COGNIZANT AND I WILL NOT FORGET TO ARRANGE FOR COVERAGE WHEN I AM OUT OF TOWN NEXT TIME," Chan wrote, apparently using capital letters to emphasize his resolve.

The medical board took no action against Chan.

Then patients started filing complaints.

On Dec. 1, 2004, Kenneth Hare Fredrick Kenneth Hare (February 5, 1919–September 3, 2002) was a Canadian meteorologist and academic, who researched atmospheric carbon dioxide, climate change, drought, and arid zone climates and was a strong advocate for preserving the natural environment.  of Searcy complained the procedures Chan performed on him were unnecessary.

"The only reason I think of is that he wants to make money doing procedure and after procedure," Hare and his wife, Donna Hare, said in a letter to the Medical Board. "I hear in the community that he plans on making lots of money so he can retire in his forties."

The Hares also wrote that they wondered how he could perform so many operations in a short period of time.

"For example, [Chan] did a spinal tap spinal tap: see spinal puncture.  procedure on

my husband and the staff stated he had been in surgery all night finishing up a brain surgery at 2:30 a.m. the same day and had a full day scheduled for the remainder of the day," the couple wrote. "Is he taking something either prescription or nonprescription non·pre·scrip·tion
Sold legally without a physician's prescription; over-the-counter.
 to keep himself going."

Chan denied the allegations in a response on Jan. 12, 2005.

"I want to reassure Mr. and Mrs. Hare, and any other parties or individuals that I did not and will not purposely pur·pose·ly  
With specific purpose.


on purpose
USAGE: See at purposeful.

Adv. 1.
 perform any unnecessary procedures on any patients," Chan wrote.

Chan also said he worked "extremely long hours" because he was the only neurosurgeon in town and "I love my work."

"I have never and will never take any prescriptive pre·scrip·tive  
1. Sanctioned or authorized by long-standing custom or usage.

2. Making or giving injunctions, directions, laws, or rules.

3. Law Acquired by or based on uninterrupted possession.
 or non-prescriptive substance to keep myself going," Chan wrote, bolding and italicizing a section of the sentence for emphasis.

The board found no evidence that Chan violated the Arkansas Medical Practices Act, and no action was taken.

Patients Sue

Since the criminal charges were filed in September, several of Chan's former patients have turned to filing lawsuits in White County Circuit Court instead of going to the State Medical Board.

One lawsuit was filed at the end of 2006, while another was filed in early 2007.

The most recent lawsuit against Chan was filed May 24 by Eddie Don Glenn, 49, of Bald Knob
For the city in Arkansas, see Bald Knob, Arkansas.

Bald Knob is the highest point on Back Allegheny Mountain in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, USA, and is part of Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.

Glenn told Arkansas Business that he was suffering from back pain and was referred to Chan at the end of 2005.

Glenn, who had worked as a plastic molder mold·er  
v. mold·ered, mold·er·ing, mold·ers

To crumble to dust; disintegrate.
To cause to crumble. See Synonyms at decay.
 for gun companies, said Chan pushed for him to have back surgery.

Otherwise, Chan allegedly warned, Glenn could lose control of his kidney functions at any time.

Glenn wanted time to think about the surgery and getting his affairs in order because he wouldn't be able to work for six months after the operation. But Chan became "agitated ag·i·tate  
v. ag·i·tat·ed, ag·i·tat·ing, ag·i·tates
1. To cause to move with violence or sudden force.

," Glenn said, when he asked for time to think. So Glenn went ahead with the surgery.

After the operation, "as the days went by, the worse it got," he said.

He said surgery was supposed to relieve the pain, but it didn't. Glenn asked Chan about it.

"He just told me I was going to have to deal with it," Glenn said.

Now Glenn said he is unable to work and takes a handful of pain pills daily.

Glenn's claims are supported by Dr. Jim Moore, a Little Rock neurosurgeon who has practiced medicine for more than 40 years.

"The patient was submitted, therefore, to a very major operative procedure with little, if any in the way of justification from the neurosurgical standpoint," Moore wrote in an affidavit affidavit

Written statement made voluntarily, confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the party making it, and signed before an officer empowered to administer such oaths.
 filed in the case.

Moore also said that Glenn's back problems will never be resolved.

"It is my opinion ... that the negligent actions of Dr. Chan directly and proximately prox·i·mate  
1. Very near or next, as in space, time, or order. See Synonyms at close.

2. Approximate.

[Latin proxim
 cause Mr. Glenn to consent to unnecessary surgeries, undergo medically unnecessary procedures, and incur a lifetime of problems as a result of such surgeries," Moore wrote.

Glenn is seeking unspecified damages.

Kickbacks Alleged

In 2002, Thomas, the medical supply salesman, told then-U.S. Attorney H.E. "Bud" Cummins that he believed Chan was performing unnecessary surgeries and receiving kickbacks from other medical supply companies.

Through the summer of 2003, Thomas said he continued talking with Cummins about Chan and continued to provide examples, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 his lawsuit.

In the spring of 2003, Chan performed surgery on the spine of a patient who was more than 80 years old "and therefore likely covered by the Medicare program," Thomas said in the lawsuit. "This patient had such a progressed stage of cancer that the patient was expected to live only a few more weeks and could not benefit from this surgery."

Thomas claims the anesthesiologist Anesthesiologist
A medical specialist who administers an anesthetic to a patient before he is treated.

Mentioned in: Anesthesia, General, Appendectomy, Parathyroidectomy

 who assisted in the surgery questioned the need for the surgery, which led to a shouting match shouting match n (col) → discusión f a voz en grito

shouting match n (inf) → engueulade f, empoignade f 
 between the two doctors. In the end, Chan went ahead with the operation.

While Thomas said he never gave Chan money, another salesperson who sold products for Orthofix, Osteotech Inc. of Eatontown, N.J., and other suppliers, allegedly did, according to the criminal file against Chan in U.S. District Court in Little Rock.

The sale rep, who isn't identified in the documents on file, told investigators that Chan asked him (or her) in late 2003 or early 2004 about the possibility of receiving payment in exchange for using some of the salesperson's products.

The salesperson declined to give cash but offered software for use in Chan's clinic instead.

"Dr. Chan advised that he did not need software and that he only wanted cash," according to the affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Justin Beach.

At that time, the salesperson agreed to split the commission checks with Chan, Beach wrote.

In January 2004, the salesperson made the first payment to Chan--$3,000 in cash. Beach said the payment corresponds to the time in which Chan began using Osteotech products.

Between January 2004 and June 2006 the salesperson paid a portion of his commission to Chan. Most payments were around $7,000 to $8,000 a month, and the witness estimated that he paid Chan around $200,000 in cash during the period.

To deliver the money, the witness placed the money in a manila or FedEx envelope and dropped it off at Chan's clinic at 1120 S. Main St. in Searcy.

Endgame Endgame

blind and chair-bound, Hamm learns that nearly everybody has died; his own parents are dying in separate trash cans. [Anglo-Fr. Drama: Beckett Endgame in Weiss, 143]

See : Death

On July 17, the salesperson met with Beach and other government officials and told them what was going on. The salesperson agreed to cooperate further and on July 31 made another payment to Chan of $15,000.

But this time, the sales rep was secretly recording the transaction.

"Dr. Chan took the package containing the $15,000 without question mg and appeared to place me package in a drawer of his desk in his office," Beach wrote.

On Sept. 5, another payment of $8,000 was made to Chan, and it was also recorded.

Chan was charged on Sept. 14 in U.S. District Court in Little Rock.

On Oct. 8, Chan wrote a letter to the medical board surrendering his license.

"I have stopped treating patients and I am closing my office," Chan wrote. "I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and the members of the State Medical Board for the support and help that you have kindly extended to me over the years."

By Mark Friedman
COPYRIGHT 2007 Journal Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Comment:Neurosurgeon's kickback trial set for June 25; Searcy doctor also target of whistleblower lawsuit.
Author:Friedman, Mark
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Jun 11, 2007
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