Inside Dr. Fata fraud investigation

Detroit-area cancer doctor accused of intentionally misdiagnosing patients to collect $35 million from Medicare

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. - It is a Medicare fraud case on a level that seasoned investigators who deal with these cases daily tell Local 4 blows everything else out of the water.

The accusations aimed at Dr. Farid Fata claim he bilked Medicare out of $35 million and prescribed chemotherapy to patients who didn't have cancer. With an alleged fraud so massive, Fata billed Medicare at a massive rate no other physician in the entire state can even come close to, why did it take so long to be uncovered?

More: Doctor fraud case: what happens to patient records?

Those working this case say it's simple. Dr. Fata did virtually everything possible in-house at his practice. For example, sources tell us he would mix chemo drugs without a licensed pharmacist present. His offices had equipment like PET scan machines so patients wouldn't go elsewhere for the tests.

Fata was seeing a lot of patients—every day. Investigators estimate he saw 70-80 patients daily. He alone generated a lot of money for Crittenton Hospital.

Those working this case say the majority of cases with questionable diagnoses are blood cancers. It's interesting to note that Fata was turned down by Beaumont Hospital for credentials. The credentialing process is a serious business, so much so that in medical malpractice cases one of the first things usually asked of a physician whose judgment and skill have been called into question is whether they have been denied credentials.

Hospitals can deny credentials for a variety of reasons including everything from educational background to reputation in the community. Beaumont clearly didn't think Fata was up to par.

Currently Dr. Fata remains behind bars, his attorney says he does not have the assets available to post a $9 million bond while the case against home proceeds. Federal sources tell us don't be surprised if at the end of this there is a superseding indictment charging Fata with murder in addition to the fraud claims.

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