Tuesday, January 23, 2001

Doctor pleads guilty to defrauding insurers




The Associated Press

        CHICAGO — A doctor who worked at two Chicago medical centers pleaded guilty to defrauding the government and private insurers out of an estimated $3.2 million in unnecessary tests and hospital admissions.

        Dr. Monty McClellan, 60, of Prospect, Ky., could be sent to federal prison for more than 20 months under a plea agreement made public Friday when he appeared before U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo.

        He signed the agreement in November 1998, but it was not made public until he entered his guilty plea to one mail fraud count Friday. The agreement calls for him to cooperate in the continuing investigation.

        No date has been set for his sentencing. His attorney, Daniel Murray, said Dr. McClellan lives in Prospect, near Louisville, and commutes to his medical practice in Galatia, Ill.

        In the investigation, five undercover agents posed as patients and were admitted to Doctors Hospital of Hyde Park on Chicago's South Side in January and February 1997 even though they were in good health, according to federal prosecutors.

        Dr. McClellan admitted that while working at the Desnick Eye Center in 1992 and 1993 he ordered unnecessary allergy tests that led to Medicare payments exceeding $500,000.

        Dr. McClellan moved to Doctors Hospital in June 1993. From October through the following July, he admitted about 100 patients a month and about 80 percent of them should have been treated as outpatients, he said. He said he was directed by higher-ups to keep admitting those patients to the hospital so that Medicaid and other insurers would continue to reimburse the hospital. The resulting Medicaid payments totaled at least $2.7 million, according to the plea agreement.

       



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