Bill targets law-breaking doctors
Detroit – — A group of state lawmakers has introduced bills aimed at permanently yanking the licenses of physicians who intentionally break the law.
The bills are in response to the case of Dr. Farid Fata, who last week admitted to prescribing “unnecessary” chemotherapy to patients as he pleaded guilty to 16 counts of health care fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to give or receive kickbacks.
On Tuesday, former patients and family members of ex-patients of the indicted cancer doctor plan to speak at 10:30 a.m. before the House Committee on Health Policy about the legislation and their concerns about how complaints about the physician were handled by the state four years ago.
The legislation is sponsored by state Reps. Jeff Farrington, R-Utica; Pat Somerville, R-New Boston; Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township; and Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle.
Farrington met some of Fata’s former patients and relatives of ex-patients in September.
The proposed legislation would authorize state officials to revoke physicians’ medical licenses if they engage in a pattern of intentional fraud or deception involving personal financial gain or cause harm to a patient.
“This is all about protecting patients from physicians who are intentionally breaking the law,” Farrington said on the House Republicans’ website. .”
Fata, a 49-year-old Oakland Township resident, was accused in August 2013 by federal authorities of giving chemotherapy to patients who didn't have cancer as part of an alleged scheme to bilk millions out of Medicare. He entered the surprise guilty plea Sept. 16 just weeks before he was to go to trial.
Fata faces up to 175 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Feb. 23 before U.S. District Judge Paul Borman.
Among those attending the hearing Tuesday will be Liz Lupo of Oakland Township, whose late mother, Marianne, was treated by Fata for lung cancer. Marianne Lupo died in 2007.
Liz Lupo said Fata treated her mother with too much chemotherapy and, she believes, eventually caused her death.
Lupo said Thursday she is glad lawmakers want to make changes to the state’s Public Health Code, but hopes if the law is changed, it will be followed. “The problem is if the law wasn’t followed four years ago will it be enforced?” Lupo said.