Salisbury Cardiologist Sentenced to over 8 Years in Prison for Implanting Unnecessary Cardiac Stents

Inserted Unnecessary Stents in Patients and Submitted Insurance Claims
for Unnecessary Procedures, Services and Testing

November 10, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced cardiologist John R. McLean, age 59, of Salisbury, Maryland, today to 97 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for six health care fraud offenses in connection with a scheme in which Dr. McLean submitted insurance claims for inserting unnecessary cardiac stents, ordered unnecessary tests and made false entries in patient medical records, in order to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers. Judge Quarles also ordered that McLean pay restitution to Medicare and the other health insurance programs of $579,070. Judge Quarles also ordered McLean to forfeit $579,070 as proceeds of the crime.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Nicholas DiGiulio, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, Philadelphia Region which includes Maryland.

“The jury found that Dr. McLean egregiously violated the trust of his patients and made false entries in their medical records to justify implanting unneeded cardiac stents and billing for the surgery and follow-up care,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

“Placing unnecessary stents in the hearts of patients is a crime of unthinkable proportions,” said Nicholas DiGiulio, Special Agent in Charge for the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. “A doctor who insists on practicing greed rather than good medicine will ultimately pay a heavy price."

According to evidence presented at his two week trial, McLean had a private medical practice known as John R. McLean M.D. and Associates, located at 1315 S. Division Street in Salisbury. He had hospital privileges at the Peninsula Regional Medical Center (“PRMC”). From at least 2003 to May 2007, McLean performed cardiac catheterizations and implanted unnecessary cardiac stents in more than 100 patients at PRMC. He then falsely recorded in the patients’ medical records the existence or extent of coronary artery blockage, known as lesions, observed during the procedures in order to justify the stent and the submission of claims to health care benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.

In addition, McLean ordered that his cardiac patients, including those that received stents, undergo a battery of medically unnecessary follow up tests such as cardiolite stress tests, echocardiograms and EKGs. McLean submitted claims for the unnecessary stents and testing that were paid by health care benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services for their assistance in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Sandra Wilkinson, Mark Crooks and Thomas Corcoran, who are prosecuting the case.

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