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Radiologist Lied About Thousands Of Scans

July 11, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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From May 2007 through January 2008, Rajashakher P. Reddy, MD, an Atlanta teleradiologist, signed and submitted reports on more than 70,000 images—of which he actually bothered to look at fewer than 5,900.

So said a federal district court jury, which last week found Dr. Reddy guilty of 20 counts of wire fraud, five counts of mail fraud, four counts of health care fraud, and one count of obstruction of justice. The jury acquitted him of five counts of wire fraud, but he still faces a fine of up to $250,000 for each count on which he was convicted, plus up to 20 years in prison.

Dr. Reddy operated Reddy Solutions, Inc. (RSI), which, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, provided teleradiology services to hospitals in Georgia and Alabama that lacked full-time radiology coverage. RSI had clients in Clayton, Thomaston, and Columbus in Georgia as well as Union Springs and Lucerne in Alabama, according to the U.S. attorney.

Dr. Reddy was president of RSI and also one of the principal radiologists. Prosecutors said he had radiology practice assistants review most of the X-rays and other scans that he was supposed to be reading. The assistants prepared reports about their findings. Dr. Reddy then signed and submitted the reports as his own, without actually looking at the scans.

Sometimes, he didn’t even sign the reports himself, instead having the staff sign and transmit them in his name. Evidence at trial showed that Dr. Reddy supposedly signed dozens of reports during times when he was on airplanes that lacked Internet access.

Most of the fraudulently handled scans were X-rays, though some were CT scans, mammograms, or ultrasounds. At least some of the scans involved Medicare patients, which explains the federal interest in the case.

After the government sent a subpoena to RSI demanding computer records, Dr. Reddy allegedly told employees to destroy those records and create fake replacements that falsely showed that Dr. Reddy himself had read all of the images in question. According to trial testimony, he also disposed of computers requested by the government and asked employees to lie to investigators.

The FBI helped investigate the case. The U.S. attorney’s news release quotes Brian Lamkin, special agent in charge of the FBI Atlanta office, as saying:

People who are sick deserve to have their test results seen and professionally analyzed by a doctor, and not by a machine set up to generate profits.

Amen to that.

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