American Doctors Busted For Fraud, Conspiracy In HIV Treatment Scam

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Vikram singh

Feb 25, 2005
I've often asserted that doctors exploit people for personal profit, prescribing drugs and procedures that are medically unnecessary while raking in millions from health insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. This week, Miami doctor Roberto Rodriguez was sentenced to eight years in prison -- and ordered to pay $9 million back to Medicare -- for doing exactly that.

According to press reports, Dr. Rodriguez conspired with five other medical professionals to recruit patients, diagnose them with HIV, then forge false records for HIV treatment services that earned them millions of dollars in Medicare reimbursements. From October 2003 through February 2006, the team of doctors bilked Medicare (and taxpayers) for $20 million in false claims. (One of the co-conspirators -- Dr. Carmen del Cueto -- will be sentenced in September.)

But here's the best part: This fraud wasn't limited to just one medical clinic. Dr. Rodriguez was the medical director for five additional Miami-based HIV infusion clinics where the same fraud continued to the tune of millions of dollars.

As you learn all this, keep in mind that both of these fraudsters were state-licensed medical doctors, granted the right to prescribe dangerous (even deadly) chemicals to infants, children and senior citizens. These are people who went to medical school, who passed the graduation exams, and who were entrusted with the health of patients by "conventional medicine" licensing boards.

So how, then, could they have been such outrageous criminals, defrauding the taxpayers for millions of dollars while abandoning the real medical needs of their patients?

What's lacking in modern medicine: Ethics

The answer is that medical schools don't teach ethics. In fact, they have no interest in the subject. Med school students don't pursue the profession as a way to "explore the potential of ethical behavior;" they almost always pursue it out of ego and a desire for wealth. (A few exceptional doctors diverge from the majority and pursue it out of a genuine desire to help heal their fellow human beings, but those individuals are rare indeed.)

In our modern society, medicine is pursued primarily for personal profit by even those doctors who operate within the boundaries of the law. So why should we be surprised when two conventional doctors figure out a way to earn huge profits without engaging in any real medicine at all? The behavior, after all, is merely an extension of what they learned in medical school: Treat the symptoms, not the problem. Produce short-term results, not long-term solutions.

Earning "quick cash" is a lot like using pharmaceuticals to produce "quick results." They are shortcuts pursued by doctors with a shortcut mentality -- professionals who lack holistic thinking, who lack ethics, and who lack any real compassion for fellow human beings.

Sadly, these two criminal doctors reflect the dire lack of ethics in many of the physicians in the conventional medical community. This "make a quick buck at any cost" mentality dominates western medicine today, where the very idea of having compassion for a fellow human being is utterly alien to the most successful members of the profession.

That these two doctors profited from the medical exploitation of patients is not surprising. That they got caught is! Consider this: For every doctor defrauding Medicare right now, bilking taxpayers for unjustified medical expenses, there are perhaps a hundred thousand prescriptions being filled for pharmaceuticals sold at profiteering monopoly prices, where drug companies routinely defraud states by illegally hiking up the prices for meds.

In fact, the price fraud found in the transactions between drug companies and government-run medical services is so deeply entrained in the system that it's virtually impossible to find a drug company that hasn't been hauled into court on price fraud (and then later settled with the state in question for a few million dollars). Fraud is endemic to the system of western medicine -- it's part of the very culture of so-called "health care" today.

Because let's face it: Medicine is a for-profit business. It's not a sector of the economy that was set up to heal people, or to end suffering, or to demonstrate compassion. It exists for one reason and no other: To generate profits for those hucksters who operate the scams. Those hucksters include cancer non-profits, drug companies, vaccine clinics, oncologists and practicing physicians. Take the profits out of health care, and ninety-nine percent of these people vanish into the hills. It is not health and healing that keeps them there; it is the weekly paycheck, and that paycheck is determined largely by how many people they can convince to undergo whatever medically useless "treatment" they offer: Pills, surgery, radiation or otherwise.

I wish I could report that these two criminal doctors who defrauded Medicare were an aberration of the system, a fluke that rarely surfaces. But that's not the case: I see reports on doctors caught in billing fraud almost every month, and I read about drug companies settling with states for price fixing almost every week. These accounts are frequent and ongoing. They describe not a fluke of the system of western medicine but rather a culture of crime and corruption that permeates the system.

And as long as medicine is based on profit rather than compassion, the hucksters and profiteers will continue to set the standard. That's why the single most important step in any meaningful health care reform is to take the profits out of health care by ending patents for pharmaceuticals and returning competition to the whole system by allowing customers to price-shop for medical services through the use of vouchers.

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