Doctors, nurses to face federal charges over health care scandal
Medical staff members at hospitals in the United States will be charged with conspiracy to commit bribery under a sweeping federal investigation, as a federal judge in Florida issued a subpoena Monday.
Dr. Michael W. Smith, a physician at the University of Miami Medical Center, was indicted in federal court on a charge of conspiring to commit a federal crime by “intentionally making false statements to government agencies, public officials, or employees,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
The doctor and his wife, Mary Ann Smith, are accused of participating in a scheme to bribe doctors at the hospitals they work for to cover up the quality of care, the department said.
The indictment was unsealed on Monday, three days after a federal grand jury indicted the two doctors in Miami-Dade County.
In a statement, the Smiths denied any wrongdoing and said they are innocent of any wrongdoing.
The federal charges come as part of a federal investigation that began after a whistleblower alerted the U.S. Justice Department about the doctors’ conduct.
Mary Ann and Michael Smith, seen in a file photo, are the subjects of an indictment in Florida, on March 31, 2018.
The two doctors were indicted on federal bribery charges by a grand jury on Monday.
(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that the doctors and their wives “engaged in an organized scheme to conceal the truth about the quality and quantity of their patients’ care and to avoid being held accountable for the harm they were inflicting on their patients.”
The charges come after more than two dozen medical facilities in Florida and other states complained about the Smith family’s work, which was reviewed by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The complaint against Dr. Smith says he and his family “knowingly participated in, conspired with, and directed, others to engage in a conspiracy to conceal, obstruct, and impede the investigation and prosecution of the Smith and Smith’s wife’s misconduct.”
The Smiths are also accused of failing to report their actions to federal regulators.
The couple, who have not been charged, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.