Detroit — The majority of former patients and some surviving family members of ex-patients of convicted oncologist Farid Fata have had their restitution claims approved to receive money from a fund set up for them, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Monday.
The federal office reports 74 percent of claim applications have received preliminary approvals.
Fata, 52, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in July 2015 to 45 years in prison on health care fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks in an expansive scheme that included prescribing patients unnecessary chemotherapy and other medical treatments and medications to bilk Medicare and other medical insurers.
About $11.9 million in financial assets were seized from the Oakland Township resident to set up a fund to give funds to those patients or their surviving loved ones restitution for co-pays, out-of-pocket expenses and funeral costs.
Some patients or their relatives complained last week that many of them have been turned down for the claims. But for those who were turned down, there is an opportunity to resubmit a claim for reconsideration.
Requests for reconsideration must be postmarked on or before Aug. 23. Those who requesting reconsideration will also have an opportunity to request a review of their claims by a magistrate judge if they feel the facilitator made a mistake in their decision. The federal court will ultimately make the final decision on the claim.
The U.S. Justice Department is urging those who don’t understand why they were denied to call the facilitator’s toll-free number at (877) 202-3282.
“The Justice Department’s goal continues to be the distribution of Fata’s assets to every former patient or heir who submits an eligible claim for restitution,” according to a press release Monday. “The department recognizes that the prosecution and now the process of federal restitution has been difficult for victims and their families and that is why we have attempted to assist the former patients and family members of patients every day since August of 2013.’’
Geraldine Parkin, organizer of a family support group and Facebook page of former Fata patients and whose husband complained of mistreatment by the doctor, said Monday: “That's great to hear however those that aren't approved are being ask for the same documents they already have sent in.”
Parkin advises people to “keep calling” and “don’t give up” in trying to to resolve their claim applications.
“The judge will hear cases, too, so have all your documentation ready if you are continually denied,” Parkin said.