Atlanta Radiologist Sentenced to Prison
ATLANTA, GA - RAJASHAHKER P. REDDY, 41, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to prison late yesterday by United States District Judge Orinda D. Evans on charges of health care fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the sentence, “This physician fraudulently cut corners at the expense of the hospitals he worked for and the patients who were being treated. The Defendant produced tens of thousands of reports claiming to include his medical findings and diagnoses based on radiology studies that had been performed, but where all those interpretations had been performed by non-qualified medical assistants. This significant sentence is needed to protect the public from such an egregious breach of trust.
FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin said, “This defendant disregarded his position of trust within the medical community and chose to cut corners while disregarding the patients' needs and concerns. The FBI is proud of the role that it played in enforcing patients rights and bringing an errant medical practitioner to justice.”
“Dr. Reddy's sentence will send a clear message to others who may be contemplating committing Medicare fraud that such conduct will not be tolerated and if they choose to steal thousands of taxpayer dollars they will go to prison,” said Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Region for the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health & Human Services.
REDDY was sentenced to 4 years, 6 months in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and fined $15,000. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $919,000. REDDY was convicted of these charges after a nearly two week-long trial on July 7, 2011.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: REDDY's company, “Reddy Solutions, Inc.” (“RSI”), provided radiologist coverage – interpreting x-rays and other films – to various hospitals in the Southeast that otherwise typically lacked full-time radiology coverage. Generally, hospital staff would take the film, which REDDY and other RSI radiologists would access remotely via computer. The RSI radiologist was supposed to review the film, prepare and sign a report expressing his or her medical conclusions, and transmit it electronically back to the hospital. REDDY was both the President of the company as well as one of the principal radiologists supposedly interpreting film and preparing reports.
However, the evidence showed that from May 2007 through January 2008, REDDY signed and submitted thousands of reports in his name without even reviewing the films that were the subjects of the reports. Rather, he had non-physician technicians known as Radiology Practice Assistants (“RPA’s”) review the film and prepare the reports. In some cases, REDDY directed the RSI staff to simply sign for him, and transmit the report as it he had prepared it. In other cases, REDDY accessed the system for the purpose of signing and submitting the reports. Either way, the majority of the time he never looked at and analyzed the underlying films, and the reports signed by him therefore did not bear his medical conclusions or those of any other doctor.
The proof at trial included computer records that showed that while REDDY signed over 70,000 radiology reports in 8 months, he only viewed digital computer images of the studies less than 5,900 times during those months. The employees who actually viewed the majority of these studies were the RPA’s, who are not qualified to interpret films but who REDDY could hire at a fraction of the cost of hiring a radiologist. The proof also included dozens of reports supposedly signed by REDDY at times when he was, in fact, traveling in the air on airplanes that lacked internet access. These reports were signed by other employees, using REDDY’s electronic password at his direction.
The evidence revealed that REDDY fraudulently passed off these reports prepared by non-physician assistants thousands of times, to several hospitals, mainly involving x-rays, but also including some CT scans, mammograms, and ultrasounds. Some of the hospitals and other facilities that may have received these fraudulent reports include Mountain Lakes Medical Center in Clayton, Georgia; Upson Regional Medical Center in Thomaston, Georgia; Bullock County Hospital in Union Springs, Alabama; Crenshaw Community Hospital in Lucerne, Alabama; and Columbus Diagnostic Centers in Columbus, Georgia.
In addition to fraud charges stemming from his fraudulent submission of these medical reports, REDDY was also convicted of obstructing the investigation.
During the investigation, the Government served a subpoena on RSI demanding production of the computer records that are supposed to keep track of what users accessed what images and when. REDDY instructed employees to destroy those records and to instead create and produce to the Government new, fabricated, records, which falsely stated that REDDY had been viewing images instead of the assistants. Witnesses explained how they were instructed by REDDY to make these fabrications and to then produce the false records to the Government in response to the subpoena. The evidence at trial also showed that REDDY disposed of computer equipment for which the Government had asked, and asked employees to lie to investigators.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Health and Human Services.
Assistant United States Attorney Justin S. Anand prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.