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Fata patient restitution hearing delayed six months

Oralandar Brand-Williams

A hearing to get one step closer to restitution for patients of convicted cancer physician Dr. Farid Fata and their families has been delayed six months.

Lawyers are trying to set up a system to determine how to compensate those affected by the doctor’s mistreatment.

“There shouldn’t be a delay at all,” said Geraldine Smith Parkin, whose husband is a former patient of Fata.

“He took the money so ... patients should be reimbursed immediately,” said Parkin, who organized a support group for former patients and their families.

Parkin said the delay will prolong the pain and suffering for those affected by Fata’s crimes.

“(Patients) feel he wins again,” she said.

Fata was sentenced July 10 to 45 years in prison for giving chemotherapy to cancer-free patients while also over-medicating others as part of a wide-reaching health insurance scheme to bilk Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Medicare of about $34 million in insurance payments.

Former patients and their families could receive out-of-pocket expenses and remedial medical treatment under a restitution plan laid out in federal court in July.

During that hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Dick said the government has collected about $13 million of the $17.6 million forfeited by Fata, 50. A whistle-blower in the case will get 10 percent, about $1.3 million of the fund, and the rest is expected to be distributed to the victims and families who were prescribed unnecessary drugs and treatments by Fata, such as chemotherapy for non-existent cancer.

Doctors’ statements will be required for former patients or families filing under the remedial category and no document except proof of payment will be required for the out-of-pocket expenses. The court must approve the plan.

“The fraud was so pervasive that we would not require patients to have any documentation,” Dick told U.S. District Judge Paul Borman.

Funeral costs and other related losses will not be paid under the plan.

Borman called Fata’s crimes “horrific and unprecedented” before sentencing him. Fata’s attorneys are appealing the sentence.

Federal prosecutors and attorneys for Fata have agreed 553 patients may have been the victims of medical mistreatment. McQuade, the U.S. attorney, said Fata “sized up” patients as potential moneymakers for himself.

About 40 lawsuits against Fata are pending in Oakland County Circuit Court.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

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