The November 3 federal grand jury indictment alleges that Dr. Rajashakher Reddy, 39, signed and submitted thousands of reports from May 2007 through January 2008 in his name without reviewing the films that were the subject of the reports -- a practice known in radiology as "ghosting."
The indictment alleges that nonphysician technicians (radiology practice assistants) reviewed many films and prepared reports at RSI. Under current standard of care, radiology practice assistants are permitted to assist radiologists -- for example, by performing a preliminary review of radiology films and data -- but are not themselves physicians and cannot render clinical findings or diagnoses.
However, the complaint alleges that Reddy directed the RSI staff to simply sign for him, and transmit the report as if he had prepared it; other times, Reddy accessed the system only for the purpose of signing and submitting the reports, according to the indictment.
According to the complaint filed in the case, Reddy had certain radiology practice assistants review films first and file a draft report. Under current standard of care, Reddy should have then confirmed the accuracy of the report by independently reviewing the images and data, editing the draft report as necessary, and submitting the final report under his electronic signature.
However, on more than 40,000 occasions during the time period in question, Reddy signed and submitted reports under his name in cases where neither he nor any other RSI physician reviewed the underlying films and data, the complaint states. The indictment alleges that RSI received more than $1.5 million from its clients for these reports.
"The indictment alleges that the majority of the time he never looked at and analyzed the underlying films, and that the reports signed by him therefore did not bear his medical conclusions or those of any other doctor," according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia.
The indictment does not allege fraud in connection with reports signed by any other RSI doctor.
The complaint also charges that in February 2008, Reddy allegedly altered access logs maintained by RSI in a response to a subpoena dated January 29, 2008, by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Reddy was arraigned on November 5 and charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, healthcare fraud, and obstruction of justice. He faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count.
Reddy and RSI did not immediately respond to requests for comment by AuntMinnie.com.
By Erik L. Ridley
AuntMinnie.com staff writer
November 12, 2009
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