Decatur Pediatrician Pleads Guilty to Theft Related to Health Care and Agrees to Surrender Medical License
Springfield, Ill. – A pediatrician who has practiced in Decatur, Illinois, Jamie S. Warnick, pled guilty today to theft in connection with health care and agreed to permanently surrender her license to practice medicine in the United States. Warnick, 54, previously was the sole physician practicing as Decatur Pediatric Clinic, at 1770 E. Lake Shore Drive, Suite 300, Decatur, Illinois. Sentencing has been scheduled on Oct. 4, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Richard Mills.
In November 2009, Warnick was charged by criminal complaint with health care fraud. During court hearings today and on May 14, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron G. Cudmore, Warnick waived indictment and entered a plea of guilty to an information charging her with theft in connection with health care. Under terms of the plea agreement with the government, Warnick has agreed to permanently surrender her license to practice medicine in the U.S. within 10 days. Further, the parties have agreed to recommend to the court at sentencing that Warnick be ordered to serve three years probation, the first six months of which under home confinement. Terms of the plea agreement also establish an agreed relevant loss amount of $63,561.89 to the Illinois Department of Public Health based on the value of the vaccine misapplied by Warnick.
During today’s hearing and in court documents, Warnick admitted that she obtained vaccines, at no cost to her, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control through the Illinois Department of Public Health. The vaccines were meant primarily for children without health insurance and for under-insured children, whose insurance did not pay for vaccines.
On multiple occasions between 2005 and Oct. 1,2009, Warnick admitted she knowingly misapplied some vaccines and encouraged and directed parents of minor patients to falsely certify that they, and their child, qualified for the free vaccine, even though they had health insurance to cover the immunizations. Insurance company records show that a large number of these vaccines were billed to the insurance companies by Warnick, and paid as if the vaccine had been purchased by Warnick. Many other insured individuals did not sign the form; yet the vaccines were administered to their children and their insurance company was billed as if Warnick had purchased the vaccine.
The federally-funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of an inability to pay. Created in 1993, the VFC became a required part of each state’s Medicaid plan and was officially implemented in October 1994. Federal funding is ultimately allocated to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC buys vaccines and distributes them to grantees, such as state health departments and public health agencies, which distribute them at no charge to private physicians’ offices and public health clinics registered as VFC providers.
The Central Illinois Health Care Fraud Task Force, which includes agents of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Illinois State Police’s Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Illinois Attorney General’s Office and the Illinois Department of Public Health, conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Hansen is prosecuting the case.
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