Are all described in detail in Greg Jones’ terrific piece in this am’s WorkCompCentral. The 1,000 + word piece lays out the fraud perpetrated on California’s employers by the owner of Pacific Hospital, the complicity of two California legislators, and the cost – a whopping $500 million.
Michael Drobot has pled guilty, and is looking at up to 10 years in prison for allegedly paying kickbacks to get docs to use his hospital for spinal fusions, while also allegedly bribing a state Senator, Ron Calderon.
Calderon is also facing charges; a 24-count indictment was filed last week charging bribery, money laundering, and conspiracy. He and his brother are each looking at possible sentences of over 100 years.
Drobot paid “a kickback of $15,000 for each lumbar fusion procedure that was referred to his hospital and $10,000 for each cervical fusion procedure.”
Folks who have followed California work comp long puzzled over why the state allowed providers to double bill for the cost of implants (see research report dated 6/6/12); this was finally addressed a couple years back, but only after Drobot and his cronies sucked $500 million out of employers’ and taxpayers’ pockets.
There are two things to take away from Jones’ piece –
- Investigative journalism lives on – although only at niche pubs, the very largest mass media outlets (NPR, Rolling Stone, NYTimes), and independents (ProPublica).
- Employers and taxpayers are losing hundreds of millions of dollars to sleazeballs who’ve figured out work comp is a very soft target. And this continues with physician dispensing…