London Cardiologist Convicted of Health Care Fraud for Medically Unnecessary Pacemakers
LONDON, Ky. – On April 11, 2018, a federal jury convicted London physician Dr. Anis Chalhoub of health care fraud. The jury returned its guilty verdict after twelve days of trial, during which it heard evidence that Dr. Chalhoub defrauded Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurers by implanting medically unnecessary pacemakers in his patients and causing the unnecessary procedures and follow-up care to be billed to health insurance programs.
Between 2007 and 2011, Dr. Chalhoub implanted approximately 234 pacemakers in patients at St. Joseph London hospital. The evidence at trial showed that dozens of those patients’ pacemakers were medically unnecessary, under well-established national guidelines and Medicare coverage rules. A number of patients testified at trial that Dr. Chalhoub pressured them into getting the procedures and told them misleading information about their health conditions. For instance, several patients recalled Dr. Chalhoub telling them that they might die without a pacemaker. Sinus node dysfunction, the diagnosis Dr. Chalhoub gave the patients, is a non-fatal condition. The jury also heard evidence that Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurers suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses from Dr. Chalhoub’s unnecessary procedures.
United States Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr., Derrik L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Atlanta Division; and Amy Hess, Special Agent in Charge for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisville Field Division, jointly announced the verdict.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew E. Smith and Paul C. McCaffrey represented the United States in the case.
Chalhoub is currently scheduled to be sentenced on August 14, 2018 in London, Kentucky, by U.S. District Court Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove. He faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.