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Former Head of Temple Ophthalmology Dept. Charged With Fraud

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The former chair of the ophthalmology department at the Temple University School of Medicine has been indicted on fraud charges.  And there are allegations of alcohol abuse as well.

A federal grand jury in Philadelphia alleges that Dr. Joseph Kubacki, who specialized in pediatric ophthalmology, was responsible for thousands of false billings between 2002 and 2007.  He is accused of making note on charts of patients he never saw to boost his billings and his compensation, which was based on production.

“It’s alleged there were three million dollars’ worth of false claims submitted by Dr. Kubacki,” says federal prosecutor Anthony Kyriakakis, “and that the health insurers and Medicaid paid in excess of $1.5 million.”

The indictment alleges that Kubacki was out of state when he claimed to have treated some of the patients. And while not specifically alleging that the doctor saw patients while impaired, it says the doctor’s abuse of alcohol prevented him from treating as many patients as he could have.  It adds that the inflated number of claims helped him keep his prestigious job.

Kubacki is now practicing in Florida. His attorney declined comment.

A spokesman for Temple University says the school severed its relationship with Dr. Kubacki in November 2007 and promptly reported its findings to federal investigators.  Spokesman Ray Betzner says the university has since implemented additional measures to safeguard against such misconduct  and is cooperating with the government in its investigation.

Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio 1060.


One Comment

  1. ENTdoc says:

    I have worked with Dr. Kubacki and have known him professionally for over 25 years. He was always sincerely dedicated to his patients and an excellent surgeon. Some of the above comments accurately reflect the nature of academic medicine, whether at Temple, or other teaching institutions in or outside of Philadelphia; many patients are seen and treated by students, residents, and fellows with the attending physician’s signature appearing on the claims submitted. With a climate of everyone expecting free healthcare, and no one wanting to pay for it, there will be more and more claiims of Medicare/Medicaid fraud in an effort for the government to take back their money in another “redistribution of wealth.” I’m hopeful that Dr. Kubacki will be found innocent, but if he is I doubt it will receive much publicity.

  2. Carol Moore says:

    Dr. Kubacki was my doctor. He rseemed to be a good doctor, although Temple’s Opthomalogy department left me blind in my left eye by scarring my retina during cryo surgery! When I asked for my records over 10 years ago, they conveniently couldn’t find them, hence I could not sue for their wrong doings!!!! I would LOVE to have a say in this case!!!! I was wrongfully operated on and left damaged for life!!!!!

  3. sad says:

    If he was really suspected of such wrong doings then how was he able to obtain employment in the state of Florida?

  4. Frannie says:

    The man is innocent until proven guilty. This is a basic right we all have. I truly hope he is innocent as he has helped a lot of people in his career.

  5. E.Z.Louie says:

    Something stinks @ Temple, and I’m not sure it is Dr. Kubacki. Residents see the clinic patients; an attending physician then reviews the chart to make sure the care is appropriate and nothing important was overlooked. THAT is what he was signing. Someone @ Temple appears to be throwing Dr. Kubacki under the bus. I’m smelling ‘vendetta’.

  6. Eddie says:

    Whoa, there! At these large teaching institutions, resident physicians routinely provide the care for people in the clinics, and their patient chart notes are routinely countersigned by an attending doctor. Maybe we need to hear the all of the facts here before prejudging this attending physician, and assuming that “greed” was involved, and that a crime was committed.

    1. In Academics says:

      I agree with the innocent until proven guilty premise, however, signing off on charts when you are three thousand miles away…is quite damning, don’t you think? My question is who at the University of Temple Medical School knew this and for how long? You can bet that there were many, many complaints from the residents and fellows that were ignored. Note this goes back five years of his tenure…this is a very serious if not criminal issue on Temple’s part. I hope they are ready for fines in the tens of millions in settlement with our federal government.

  7. Dee says:

    Greed begets greed.. happens in other sectors of “big business” too

  8. Rhett Tena says:

    Pa prisons desperately need opthamologists. He’ll be a good addition.

    1. Frannie says:

      Nasty comment, Rhett. Besides, he may be innocent!

  9. bottomline says:

    Greed is a disease that comes from wealth. It’s time society recognizes this and treats the wealth problem.

    1. ZZBar says:

      Break that down for me. I don’t speak the same way you do.

      1. bottomline says:

        For some people wealth leads to an uncontrollable addiction to acquiring more wealth. They can’t get enough, so they resort to socially unacceptable schemes to increase their profit margin. In many cases, they self destruct, because, to increase profits they destroy the very core service or product that gave them the wealth in the beginning. I remember when the friendly banks gave out gifts and endless perks if you’d open an account with them. Today, they can’t find enough excuses to take your money, and few people think the banks are friendly anymore. Do you really think the penny pinching bankers made those bad mortgage loans without expecting a bonanza in the end? If you had an alternative, would you remove your money from the banks?

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