5 Reminders Why Background Checks are Critical in Medical Staff Credentialing
While physicians deserve the utmost respect for their important role in taking care of patients, the following recent news stories show that there’s bad doctors out there. Fortunately, there are ways healthcare organizations can minimize risk. For example, incorporating a criminal background check in a medical staff credentialing process can help hospitals safeguard both patients and staff. Cases like these are alarming reminders of why background checks are so important.
Illinois: Dr. Arthur Davida
Last Tuesday, Dr. Arthur Davida pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge that he fraudulently certified Medicare patients as confined to the home, allowing healthcare agencies to bill Medicare for unnecessary in-home treatment. According to a press release by the U.S. Department of Justice, from 2010 through August 2013, Dr. Davida certified numerous patients as confined to the home and needing skilled nursing services when they were able to leave their homes and did not need such services. He admitted that 20 percent of these patients were not confined to the home, having caused losses of at least $4 million to the Medicare program. Dr. Davida’s case is not unheard of, which is why ongoing exclusion screening should be a key component of a medical staff credentialing process.
Nevada: Dr. Binh Minh Chung
Dr. Binh Minh Chung was originally accused in 2006 of fondling a 15-year-old patient he was supposed to be treating for pink eye. In exchange for 100 hours of community service, taking classes on impulse control, and a promise to stay out of trouble, the doctor was not convicted of a crime and the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners allowed him to continue treating patients. Unfortunately, Dr. Binh Minh Chung did not keep his promise, and he now standards accused of drugging and sexually assaulting several of his patients. According to a report by The Inquisitr, the doctor now faces a slew of disturbing charges: 11 counts of producing and possessing child pornography, three of sexual assault, and 13 for administering a drug to aid in the commission of a felony. After the new charges, his medical license has been suspended.
New Jersey: Dr. Eugene Evans Jr.
Last week, acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that David Roth of Marlboro Township, NJ, was sentenced to seven years in state prison for illegally distributing the highly addictive painkiller oxycodone. In pleading guilty, Roth admitted that he illegally distributed oxycodone pills obtained using false prescriptions that were written by Dr. Eugene Evans. Dr. Evans pleaded guilty to second-degree distribution of narcotics and was sentenced on June 26 to five years in state prison, surrendering his license to practice medicine.
New York: Donald Lee-Edwards
Donald Lee-Edwards was arrested in August 2015 and is accused of impersonating a clinical psychologist and medical doctor for three years and potentially providing mental health services to over 100 patients, according to a report by Q13 Fox. The district attorney’s office brought a 12-count indictment against Lee-Edwards, including charges of criminal impersonation, identity theft, unauthorized practice of medicine, and criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions. According to officials, Lee-Edwards operated out of a basement apartment below a two-family residence in Staten Island.
North Dakota: Dr. Robert William Beattie
Last month, Dr. Robert William Beattie, a medical doctor and chairman of the UND Family and Community Medicine Department, was arrested and charged with 10 felony counts of possessing child pornography. According to a report by the Inforum, Beattie admitted to having child pornography on a flash drive plugged into his computer in his office. Dr. Beattie was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on September 11.
In order to avoid negligent credentialing, it’s important to include a criminal background check when hiring or privileging physicians. As mentioned in the case of Dr. Davida, ongoing exclusion screening monitoring of physicians should also be implemented by healthcare organizations. Not only will it help keep patients safe in the long-term, but it can also help your organization avoid significant civil monetary penalties and fines.