Dallas hospital owner pleads guilty to bribing spine surgeons in $200M healthcare fraud scheme: 9 things to know

Written by Mackenzie Garrity | July 26, 2018 | Print  |

As the trial against Dallas-based Forest Park Medical Center approaches, the hospital's co-founder and manager Alan Beauchamp agreed to plead guilty to bribing physicians to perform high volume and lucrative surgeries, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Forest Park Medical Center is no longer in operation. Investigators allege hospital executives, surgeons and other physicians are responsible for a $200 million healthcare fraud scheme.

Here are nine things to know:

1. The plea documents indicate Mr. Beauchamp recruited high-volume specialty physicians, many of them spine surgeons, and bribed them with millions of dollars to perform their high-paying surgeries at Forest Park Medical Center.

2. Mr. Beauchamp is one of six defendants to admit guilt in the alleged scheme. Investigators have arrest a total of 21 defendants who allegedly paid $40 million in bribes and kickbacks to physicians, recruiters and others. In return, the hospital is accused of receiving $200 million in reimbursements.

3. The former hospital manager faces up to five years in prison. Anesthesiologist and Forest Park Medical Center co-founder Richard Toussaint, MD, was the first physician to plead guilty to the kickback scheme.

4. Investigators allege Mr. Beauchamp and Dr. Toussaint were the masterminds behind the fraud scheme. They are accused of disguising bribes and kickbacks as marketing and other forms of payment. In both of their plea agreements, Mr. Beauchamp and Dr. Toussaint put equal blame on the surgeons.

5. Eight of the defendants are physicians, seven of whom have plead not guilty to their role in the kickback scheme. Investigators allege surgeons were aware that the more surgeries they brought to Forest Park Medical Center the more money they could earn from an investment or in kickbacks.

6. Mr. Beauchamp allegedly told one surgeon defendant Douglas Won, MD, if he didn't increase his surgical volume he could not expect any more money. Additionally, defendant David Kim, MD, alleges Mr. Beauchamp told him he could pay the surgeon $100,000 a month if he performed 20 out-of-network surgeries monthly.

7. Defendant spine surgeon Shawn Henry, MD, wanted to invest in Forest Park Medical Center. Lacking the necessary funds to do so, Dr. Henry performed 25 to 30 surgeries a month, and Mr. Beauchamp allegedly paid him a $30,000 monthly kickback.

8. Chiropractors are also accused of referring patients from all over the state to Forest Park Medical Center. Frank Gonzalez Jr., is among the chiropractors who pled guilty in the Dallas hospital case. Mr. Gonzalez would recommend his patients travel five hours to Forest Park Medical Center in return for kickbacks.

9. A judge has not accepted Mr. Beauchamp's plea agreement. The case is set to go to trial Oct. 22.

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