Doc faces 25 years in prison for illegal kickbacks

A Phil­adelphia doc­tor is fa­cing up to 25 years in fed­er­al pris­on after a jury con­victed him on Monday of ac­cept­ing il­leg­al kick­backs for re­fer­ring pa­tients to a North­east-based hos­pice ser­vice.

Eu­gene Gold­man, M.D., 55, col­lec­ted at least $263,000 from Home Care Hos­pice Inc., of 2801 Grant Ave., in ex­change for re­fer­ring Medi­care and Medi­caid pa­tients to the for-profit hos­pice busi­ness from Janu­ary 2003 to Oc­to­ber 2008, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. At­tor­ney's Of­fice in Phil­adelphia. And from Decem­ber 2000 un­til Ju­ly 2011, Gold­man served as med­ic­al dir­ect­or of HCH, which provided hos­pice ser­vices at nurs­ing homes, hos­pit­als and private res­id­ences.

As med­ic­al dir­ect­or, Gold­man con­tin­ued to refer Medi­care and Medi­caid pa­tients to HCH while col­lect­ing pay­ments from the com­pany. A writ­ten con­tract between Gold­man and HCH gave the false ap­pear­ance that the pay­ments were com­pens­a­tion for med­ic­al ser­vices rendered, al­though most of the pay­ments were ac­tu­ally com­pens­a­tion for re­fer­rals, the U.S. At­tor­ney said.

The pay­ments vi­ol­ated a fed­er­al "anti-kick­back" stat­ute.

"These kick­backs for health-care re­fer­rals drive up costs, cor­rupt med­ic­al de­cisions and lead to pay­ments for un­needed pro­ced­ures," said Nick Di­Gi­ulio, spe­cial agent in charge of the In­spect­or Gen­er­al's Of­fice for the U.S. De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices.

The jury con­victed Gold­man of four counts of vi­ol­at­ing the stat­ute along with one count of con­spir­acy. He faces up to five years in pris­on and a $250,000 fine for each of the five counts. He is due for sen­ten­cing on Sept. 9.

As a res­ult of the con­vic­tions, Gold­man will be in­eligible to par­ti­cip­ate in any fed­er­al health­care pro­gram. He also faces the pos­sible loss of his med­ic­al li­cense. ••

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