Dr. Joseph Kubacki was indicted with 72 accounts of health-care fraud.
A former chairperson for the opthalmology department at the School of Medicine was indicted on Jan. 25 for 72 accounts of health care fraud and 72 accounts of false statements in health matters, according to the Department of Justice.
Dr. Joseph Kubacki, M.D., 61, a pediatrics specialist, served as the chairperson from 2002 to 2007. He was recently charged of making wrongful claims to nine benefit programs, billing the programs for more than $3 million.
If convicted, Kubacki faces imprisonment, a fine of $36 million, mandatory restitution and three years supervised release, according to the Department of Justice.
The indictment states that in an effort to appear more productive, Kubacki tampered with charts for patients whom he did not personally attend to.
Kubacki was also a director of the residency program at the School of Medicine and was reported to have directly instructed residents to make false claims on patient charts.
Many of the services Kubacki billed are stated to have been performed while he was not at Temple University Hospital. Kubacki was reportedly in Sarasota, Fla., Las Vegas, Indian Wells, Calif., and Lancaster, Pa., on such occasions.
Claims were made by the Independence Blue Cross, Medicare, Bravo Health, Keystone Mercy, Health District, Senior Partners, Health Partners and Highmark. The indictment states due to the excessive charges, the programs overpaid by nearly $1.5 million. Kubacki’s salary and annual bonus were calculated in proportion to the revenue he personally brought the hospital through procedures.
After leaving Temple, Kubacki began working at the Emerald Coast Eye Institute in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. He currently lives in Destin, Fla.
As of Feb. 1, Kubacki is no longer listed on the institute’s official website.
Temple announced it had severed relations with Kubacki in November 2007.
University spokesperson Ray Betzner said Temple “promptly reported its findings to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General.”
“The university has since implemented additional measures to safeguard against such misconduct from recurring and is cooperating with the government in its investigation,” Betzner added.
The indictment makes several mentions of an unnamed TUH employee, identified as “A.P.,” who reportedly attended staff compliance meetings where she was told to report fraudulent claims made by physicians.
A.P. spoke directly to Kubacki about these warnings. The document does not specify whether A.P. was the person who reported findings to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Multiple reports credited alcohol abuse as a reason for Kubacki’s inability to care to the required number of patients to maintain his standing as the assistant dean of student affairs at the School of Medicine.
The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services investigated the case. The office reported in October 2010 “44 percent of medical schools reported providing instruction to students on Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse laws in 2010.”
A hearing took place on Jan. 28, but a trial date has not been set. The trial will take place in Philadelphia at a federal court. The Assistant United States Attorney, Anthony Kyriakakis, will prosecute.
Amelia Brust can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.