A GREEDY doctor who ripped tens of thousands of dollars off taxpayers through bogus consultations and telling patients they were sicker than they were has kept his right to practise.
Psychiatrist suspended three years after admitting phantom treatments
By Peter Mickelburough
January 23, 2018
More than three years after psychiatrist Pralay Mazumdar pleaded guilty to having wrongfully claimed for 114 treatments, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has approved the Medical Board of Australia’s recommendation to reprimand and suspend him for six months.
Dr Mazumdar systematically defrauded the Victorian WorkCover Authority of $44,539.78 over an 18-month period.
The dodgy doctor’s criminal acts include:
BILLING for the patient and any family members who accompanied them for support;
BILLING for interpreters as a family member;
SEEING patients for short consultations but charging for visits of 45 minutes or longer;
EXTENDING the stay of inpatients, without clinical need, for financial gain.
Dr Mazumdar also failed to tell authorities, as legally required, that he had been stood down by Dandenong’s St John of God Pinelodge Clinic pending an internal investigation.
Following a separate WorkCover probe, Dr Mazumdar was convicted by a magistrate of two counts each of fraudulently obtaining payments, knowingly providing false information, and providing false information.
He was sentenced to a suspended six-month jail term and fined $5000. He also repaid the stolen money.
On appeal, Dr Mazumdar’s jail sentence was set aside and a two-year community corrections order of 350 hours of community service was imposed instead.
In sentencing, County Court judge Michael Tinney said: “Really, there is no explanation placed before me, which leaves the obvious explanation and the only one remaining in my judgment. That is greed.”
Judge Tinney found Dr Mazumdar’s moral culpability was “extremely high” but accepted there was a very low risk he would reoffend.
Dr Mazumdar’s offences occurred in 2012 and 2013. After criminal proceedings ended in 2015, the matter was referred to VCAT by the Medical Board in December 2016, with an agreed statement of facts and proposed penalty filed in August last year.
As agreed, VCAT determined Dr Mazumdar engaged in professional misconduct and unprofessional conduct and would undergo training, mentoring and auditing for 12 months following his suspension.
VCAT said the penalty recognised Dr Mazumdar’s guilty pleas, remorse, lack of prior offences, his dismissal from various prestigious positions and payment of fines and costs of just under $30,000.
It chose not to disqualify or further fine Dr Mazumdar, finding the now 63-year-old remained a respected and valued practitioner with “very good prospects for a continued contribution to his profession and patients”.
VCAT said Dr Mazumdar’s crimes did not reflect on his expertise to diagnose and treat patients and that he continued to provide important services to rural and indigenous communities.
Aussie Psychiatrist Pralay Mazumdar
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