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St. charles doctor pleads guilty to medicare fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2014

St. Louis, MO - DR. KHALED HASSAN, St. Charles County, pled guilty to billing Medicare for "face to face" office visits performed on dates when he was actually traveling outside of the United States.

According to his plea agreement, Dr. Hassan dispensed prescription drugs to a large percentage of his patients, including the drugs Percocet®, Xanax®, Ativan®, Oxycontin® and Oxycodone®.  Since some states and many health care programs limit controlled substance prescriptions to thirty-day supply amounts, his patients often had regular appointments with him roughly every thirty days to renew their prescriptions for these drugs. However, on some occasions, Dr. Hassan’s patient appointments conflicted with his travel schedule.  On three occasions in March 2009, September 2009 and December 2011, Dr. Hassan traveled internationally, leaving his nurse to conduct a number of patient visits in his absence and provide his patients with assorted pre-signed prescriptions for controlled substances.  During these same time frames, Dr. Hassan directed his office staff to bill Medicare for face-to-face office visits. Ultimately, the Drug Enforcement Administration received a number of complaints about Dr. Hassan’s prescribing practices, including a report from the Hazelwood Fire Department in February 2012, that a patient had overdosed and become unconscious in the parking lot of Dr. Hassan’s medical office in Florissant, Missouri.  During a subsequent search of Dr. Hassan’s office, agents recovered a number of pre-signed prescriptions for several patients, as well as medical records for individual patients with unusual controlled substance prescribing patterns.  

Dr. Hassan pled guilty to three felony counts of making false statements to the Medicare program before United States District Judge Catherine D. Perry.  Sentencing has been set for April 23, 2014. 

He now faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000 per count.  In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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