By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
A former cardiologist at Saint Joseph London has agreed to surrender his medical license for five years after admitting to health care fraud.
Sandesh Rajaram Patil, 51, is the third cardiologist in the nation and the first in Kentucky to be prosecuted for federal health care fraud. Patil admitted that he inserted stents in a patient who did not meet the minimum standard required by medical standards of Medicaid and Medicare.
After the five-year period, Patil must prove he can practice medicine without endangering his patients before his medical license will be reinstated.
Cardiac patients are required to have 70 or more percent arterial blockages to qualify for stents. Patil admitted in early June before a federal judge he put stents in a patient whose blockage was under 70 percent, although his attorney reportedly said Patil felt the stents were necessary in that case.
Patil is accused of falsifying records so the claims would be paid by Medicaid.
In early June, Patil pled guilty in federal court to federal health care fraud and was recommended to serve 30 to 37 months in prison. Sentencing is set for Aug. 27.
In March, Patil’s medical license was restricted by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure. He was required to attend classes regarding documentation procedures, then provide proof of completion before the board. He was also required to get a second opinion from a licensed physician before performing any type of cardiac procedures.
Patil is one of 11 other cardiologists who performed surgeries at the London hospital who are named in multiple lawsuits on claims they performed unnecessary cardiac procedures on patients from 2008 through 2010. While more than 400 defendants were named in those lawsuits, officials with Saint Joseph London say more than 100 of those lawsuits have been dismissed.
Although the cardiac procedures were done at Saint Joseph London, the cardiovascular specialists — and other physicians — are considered “private practitioners” and are given privileges to practice at specific hospitals. Patil was never an employee of Saint Joseph London and has not had privileges to practice there since December 2010, according to hospital officials.