MODESTO, Calif. (CN) - An oncologist claims the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency demoted and defamed him and made "death threats against him and his family," after he blew the whistle on its Medicare and Medi-Cal fraud and shoddy patient care.
Dr. Robert Williams sued Stanislaus County, its Health Services Agency, seven county employees, and the Scenic Faculty Medical Group, in Stanislaus County Court.
Williams says the county hired him in 2003 to provide oncology services in 2003, and promoted him to director of specialty clinics in 2004.
Williams claims that from July 2010 to September 2011 he complained in writing about unethical and illegal goings-on at Stanislaus County Health Services.
The complaint lists 12 such complaints: "(a) the unlicensed practice of medicine where patients' lives were being put in danger, (b) medical records missing from patients' charts to hide the unlicensed practice of medicine, (c) plaintiff's medical orders being altered without his knowledge and patients' lives being put in danger, (d) clinic manager coming in high on marijuana and making irrational decisions against plaintiff's sound medical judgment and putting patients at risk by altering plaintiff's orders without plaintiff's knowledge and then claiming the orders were made by plaintiff, and sometimes even forging plaintiff's signature, (e) clinic manager constantly pressuring plaintiff to participate in fraud, (f) patients' information being disclosed to third parties in violation of HIPPA, (g) fraudulent billings to Medicare and Medi-Cal for services that had not been rendered (in fact and indeed, on August 9, 2011, following plaintiff's complaints to the administration about its fraudulent billings, defendant [Elizabeth] Cooper [specialty clinics manager] did admit about the fraudulent billings and even told the oncology staff, 'We'll have to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars' for the fraudulent billings), (h) unethical practices that compromised patient care such as withholding chemotherapy, delaying treatment and or less than optimal care for MIA [medically indigent adult] cancer patients until they are 'dumped' on Medi-Cal so as to avoid paying for MIA patients; dumping MIA patients on Medi-Cal inappropriately without proper qualification and sometimes with plaintiff's forged signatures; extraordinary delay for MIA patients in getting them treatment at a tertiary center, (i) funds/grants not being used for intended purposes, (j) free medications intended for MIA and poor patients being smuggled to the Agency's pharmacies and sold for profit, (k) repeated labor law violations where employees, including several doctors, being terminated with false documentations in retaliation for speaking against the Agency's violations of the law, and oncology employees working without pay and without breaks, and (l) needless waste of taxpayer money."
The scorching complaint continues: "Frequently, plaintiff was told by defendant Cooper to engage in unethical and illegal practices, particularly to withhold treatment for MIA patients, inappropriately 'dumping' MIA patients on Medi-Cal, and to engage in fraudulent billings. When plaintiff refused, defendant Cooper frequently told plaintiff that the order is coming 'directly from Mary Ann Lee' [defendant and managing director] and commented, 'you will do it, everyone relies on you' and defendant Cooper continued to pressure and harass plaintiff by calling his house multiple times a day. When plaintiffs refused, defendants frequently altered plaintiff's billings and submitted them to Medi-Cal and Medicare for payment.