Sometimes, you just can’t trust that the advice you’re being given, even from a “professional,” is all that straightforward or uninfluenced. Eugene Goldman is a physician in Pennsylvania who was convicted earlier this week for being involved in a kickback scheme involving the referral of patients to hospice care for over a decade according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
Goldman made a deceptive practice out of referring his Medicare and Medicaid patients to Home Care Hospice Inc., of which he was the director. The organization the doctor referred his Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to was a for-profit business, based in Philadelphia, which provided hospice services to patients of the area’s health care facilities.
The doctor was able to get away with the fraudulent practice from 2000 through 2011, according to the DOJ’s release, through an agreement that misrepresented that payment to Goldman were for services he performed in his capacity as director of HCH. Instead, this was simply a means to funnel money for referring patients to the group.
Through the course of the fraudulent practice, the release states that Goldman received approximately $263,000 from 2003 to 2008 alone, though he was convicted of having engaged in the practice for much longer, for the referrals. Goldman faces five years in prison for each count. Whether Goldman will lose his medical license has yet to be determined.
Goldman was caught on tape receiving payments for the kickbacks, thanks to the investigative efforts of the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General.
While doctors’ and other professionals’ advice is often taken as gospel, it’s perfectly acceptable to get a second opinion. While instances like the one with Dr. Goldman are rare, they are not unheard of and it’s sensible to corroborate the advice you’re given by professionals. As this example shows, even when it’s something as innocuous as a referral to a hospice care provider, there’s no limit to the reach and influence of greed.
Joshua is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.