Physician gets suspended sentence, $10,000 in fines for Medicaid fraud Doctor must pay restitution

September 16, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

An Ellicott City doctor practicing in Baltimore has been given an 11-month suspended prison sentence after entering a plea agreement on charges he collected Medicaid payments without fully examining patients.

Dr. Ha Yong Jung, of the 8500 block of Harvest View Court, VTC entered an Alford plea, which means he did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence for a conviction.

Dr. Jung, 42, entered the agreement for one count of Medicaid fraud before Judge Ellen Hollender in Baltimore Circuit Court on Tuesday.

In addition to the suspended prison term, Judge Hollender ordered Dr. Jung to pay $93,580 in restitution to the Medicaid program and $10,000 in fines. He also must complete five years of unsupervised probation.

Dr. Jung could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Stuart Berger of Baltimore, said his client admits that he saw the patients but was unaware his staff was filing for the Medicaid reimbursements.

"He takes responsibility for the billing, although he personally did not do it," Mr. Berger said. "He quite simply did not understand or know that what he did was a criminal violation."

The Attorney General's Office charged that Dr. Jung saw large numbers of Medicaid patients -- nearly 100 on some days -- without providing any medical treatment or services.

Dr. Jung saw these patients for a few minutes to sign their disability papers, and then billed the Medicaid program as if he had provided medical examinations, prosecutors said. In some cases, the program was charged for the most highly paid "comprehensive" exams.

Prosecutors said Dr. Jung had a rubber stamp reading "lumbar spine arthropathy" that he used to falsely certify the disability of his patients. Prosecutors also learned, after reviewing patient records, that the doctor used identical blood pressure and pulse readings for clients.

The doctor frequently filled out disability papers and collected a fee for this service, while the Medicaid program was simultaneously billed for an office visit, prosecutors said.

Dr. Jung was responsible for completing 98 percent of all disability claim forms in Baltimore in fiscal year 1993 and received more than $99,000 that year, according to the federal Department of Social Services.

The Attorney General's Office sent two undercover investigators posing as patients to see Dr. Jung, prosecutors said. They each saw the doctor for about three minutes without getting any medical treatment, but Medicaid was billed for comprehensive exams for them.

When the investigators went to Dr. Jung's office, they found his waiting room so crowded that patients were sitting on the floor and lined up in the hallway to get their disability papers signed, prosecutors said.

Mr. Berger said Dr. Jung will continue working at his North Avenue practice, although he expects the state Physician Quality Insurance Fund to take action against the doctor and possibly suspend his license. No action has been taken by the agency yet.

Dr. Jung is the 18th person prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit this year. More than $1.9 million in fines and restitution was recovered by the unit so far this year.

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