Home Baltimore Press Releases 2011 Salisbury Cardiologist Convicted of Implanting Unnecessary Cardiac Stents

Salisbury Cardiologist Convicted of Implanting Unnecessary Cardiac Stents
Inserted Unnecessary Stents in Patients and Submitted Insurance Claims for Unnecessary Procedures, Services, and Testing

U.S. Attorney’s Office July 26, 2011
  • District of Maryland (410) 209-4800

BALTIMORE—A federal jury in Baltimore convicted cardiologist John R. McLean, age 59, of Salisbury, Maryland, today on 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.

The conviction 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 evidence shows 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. “We do not bring federal prosecutions based on discretionary judgments that might be disputed by reasonable medical professionals.”

“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, “We will continue working to bring to justice those who practice greed rather than good medicine.”

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.

McLean faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for health care fraud and five years in prison on each of five counts of making false statements relating to health care matters. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. scheduled sentencing for November 10, 2011.

The government also seeks forfeiture of $711,583, believed to be the proceeds of the scheme, but the Judge will determine the exact amount of forfeiture at sentencing.

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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