In April 2020, as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act stimulus package, the U.S. government distributed $30 billion to small- and medium-sized healthcare practices nationwide, as a means of helping those healthcare providers weather the financial impact brought upon by the Coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated that CARES Act funds would be transmitted “to all medical providers who submitted billings in 2019 to Medicare … unless they had already been excluded from participating.”
However, as Reuters reported, a portion of the $30 billion “went to [some] entities and individuals involved in civil and criminal actions with Medicare.” (Ron told Reuters that “another pool of practitioners eligible for the cash infusions include doctors who have lost their medical licenses or licenses to prescribe highly addictive drugs.”)
In its news story, NEWS 5 put the spotlight on Dr. Manish Raj Gupta, an Ohio doctor accused of using “force, fraud and coercion to compel a woman to engage in commercial sex by drugging her without her consent.” Gupta received $3,249 in CARES Act funding just weeks after his indictment.
Meanwhile, NEWS 5’s “investigation found at least 14 others, including doctors accused of having sex with patients, voyeurism and even doctor with an expired license who received $5,000,” while “a doctor convicted of illegally providing unapproved drugs received $35,000.”
“I think they should have required an application for those funds,” Ron explained in the NEWS 5 story. “The federal government sent the money out without requiring a request from the provider, as it did with traditional CARES Act small business funding. Instead, they simply sent the money out based an estimate of prior years’ billing.”