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Former Head of Temple Ophthalmology Dept. Charged With Fraud

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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.

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