Doctor accused of insurance fraud

McCarus is subject of federal complaint

November 22, 2005|By MATTHEW DOLAN | MATTHEW DOLAN,SUN REPORTER

A Towson doctor who uses a Web site to promote the laser treatment of varicose veins filed more than $500,000 worth of fake insurance claims in order to receive Medicare reimbursement, federal prosecutors alleged yesterday.

In a civil complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Dr. David C. McCarus, 54, of Timonium is accused of bilking government health insurance programs for four years by performing elective work such as laser hair and stretch mark removal and billing the procedures as medically necessary.

The complaint, filed under the federal False Claims Act by the U.S. attorney's office, seeks damages of $583,717.83 for work McCarus is suspected of submitting to Medicare and two other federal insurance programs.

Additionally, he could face penalties of $5,500 to $11,000 for each of 267 alleged false claims.

"Doctors who defraud federal health plans are cheating all taxpayers," Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a prepared statement. "The False Claims Act allows us to hold them accountable by recovering triple the amount of damages, plus additional penalties."

McCarus did not return a message left with his office on Kenilworth Drive. His attorney returned the call with a prepared statement.

"We are confident that the evidence will show that Dr. McCarus' care of these patients was appropriate and medically necessary," the attorney, E. Philip Franke III said.

The complaint alleges that McCarus masked the true nature of his work, which included performing procedures on varicose veins, spider veins, facial hair, bikini lines, stretch marks and scars.

From 2000 until 2004, prosecutors said he billed the work as medically necessary treatments, including the removal or treatment of large lesions. Federal authorities also accused him of exaggerating the size of skin conditions in order to qualify for reimbursement from Medicare.

No date for trial has been set.

McCarus operates the Center for Advanced Vein Treatment and Women's Healthcare, which advertises at treatmyveins.com.

According to the Maryland Board of Physicians, McCarus graduated from the West Virginia School of Medicine and received his medical license in 1982. The Web site for the board reported that he has not had any public disciplinary action against him in the last 10 years.

He is board-certified as an obstetrician-gynecologist. "He is not board certified, nor even board eligible, in the practice of dermatology," according to the complaint filed in court.

He has privileges at St. Agnes Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center, the Web site reported.

matthew.dolan@baltsun.com

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