Lafayette Cardiologist Accused of Health Care Fraud

March 27, 2006

A Lafayette, La., cardiologist has been indicted on 94 counts of health care fraud for allegedly performing unnecessary procedures on patients then billing their health insurance providers, U.S. Attorney Donald Washington said.

The indictment against Dr. Mehmood Patel, 60, has been sealed since a federal grand jury returned it, and as of Thursday, March 23, the U.S. Clerk of Court’s office had not yet received a judge’s order to unseal it.

More than 300 people have also sued him in civil court for medical malpractice, claiming he performed unnecessary angioplasty and stent replacements. Angioplasty is a procedure used to widen arteries, and stents are used to keep the arteries open.

Patel performed the procedures at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and Lafayette General Medical Center, but has since lost his practicing privileges at both hospitals.

Patel’s license to practice medicine is still active, though he is restricted from performing heart procedures by the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners. As of this fall, he was still seeing patients at his office at Abbeville General Hospital.

Washington said Patel is not in custody. An initial appearance and arraignment is scheduled for April 27. If convicted, Patel could face up to 20 years in prison.

Patel was in a meeting and would not be available for comment, his office said Thursday.

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