Ron Chapman II Featured in News Story Over Healthcare Providers Taking CARES Act Funds Despite Criminal Charges

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, controversy shows no signs of slowing down on the medical side, and not just when it comes to vaccination distribution and priority.

Certain physicians, pain management specialists, and other healthcare providers are being criticized for accepting government stimulus funds — yet these medical professionals hold criminal records, lost their license to practice, or have been accused of participating in “pill mill” schemes or sex trafficking.

In a recent investigative report, WEWS-TV in Cleveland (“NEWS 5 Cleveland”) looked into some of the Ohio-based healthcare providers who had questionable backgrounds or face civil and/or criminal inquiries, yet they received a portion of the $989.7 million in stimulus funds earmarked for the state of Ohio in 2020.

Ronald W. Chapman II, who leads Chapman Law Group’s White Collar Defense & Government Investigations practice, lent his legal insight in the report.

Healthcare Providers with Sketchy Past, Worrisome Criminal Charges Got Relief Funds

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.”

Contact the Healthcare Law Attorneys at Chapman Law Group If You Are Conflicted Over CARES Act Stimulus Funds

In the NEWS 5 report, Ron noted that he has received calls from healthcare providers, saying, “I received a lot of money, I’m not sure what to do with it, how do I act?” He added that he welcomes those inquiries, because “at least I can help them with the problem.”

Some health care practices, however, who did receive unexpected government funds in 2020 may still be concerned that they could face legal liability in taking those funds. If you are one of those, please contact our health care attorneys at Chapman Law Group. We will review your matter and advise you on whether you must take further action.

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Ronald W. Chapman II, LL.M.
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Chairperson of White Collar Defense & Government Investigations

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1441 W. Long Lake Road, Suite 310
Troy, MI 48098
Phone: (248) 644-6326

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