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The Associated Press State & Local Wire

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June 30, 1999, Wednesday, BC cycle

Psychiatrist must serve probation, repay money

SECTION: State and Regional

LENGTH: 372 words

DATELINE: LAFAYETTE, La.

A Breaux Bridge psychiatrist was sentenced to four years of probation and ordered to repay $ 210,000 he bilked from Medicaid and Medicare over a three-year period.
Dr. Sidney J. Dupuy III, 63, must spend one year of his probation in home confinement, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty said Tuesday. The doctor also agreed to settle $ 290,000 in civil claims arising from the scheme.
Dupuy pleaded guilty last December to two counts of mail fraud.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Dupuy faced a minimum sentence of one year in prison and a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison for his guilty pleas. However, the government filed a motion asking Doherty to reduce Dupuy’s sentence because of his help in making other fraud cases.
Assistant U.S. District Attorney Kelly Uebinger, who represented the government during sentencing, was glad to see the case come to a close.
“We’re very happy with the sentence,” she said.
According to plea agreement papers, Dupuy admitted that he filed false claims between January 1994 and 1997 to Medicaid and Medicare for services he did not render to many of his patients. He also submitted claims for services he had “up-coded.”
Up-coding is billing at a code higher than the level of service rendered.
Dupuy, who has practiced in psychiatry in Louisiana for nearly 40 years, also admitted that he billed Medicare and Medicaid for “face-to-face” visits with “virtually each and every” one of his patients for “virtually each and every day,” though he only had face-to-face contact with some of those patients at hospitals in Mamou, Eunice, Lafayette and Breaux Bridge.
The doctor, whose office is in Lafayette, even billed for services during times when he was on vacation or out of state attending seminars, the papers said.
In a statement released by Attorney General Richard Ieyoub, he said Dupuy’s conviction was an example of a successful joint effort by state and federal agencies to attack “complex criminal schemes.”
Ieyoub hinted the conviction should be a warning to others.
“Health care fraud costs taxpayers millions of dollars every year, and my office remains committed to vigorously prosecuting those who greedily abuse our state’s Medicaid program.”