Des Moines Register
Iowa psychiatrist turns in medical license over bill-padding allegations
By Tony Leys
November 16, 2017
Richard L. Hauser, 68, practiced psychiatry in Grinnell, Iowa City and Pella, state and federal records show. He surrendered his license last week to settle administrative charges of unethical conduct, which were brought by the Iowa Board of Medicine.
Hauser pleaded guilty in October 2016 to two criminal counts of health-care fraud, and served two months in federal prison this summer.
Federal prosecutors said he often billed Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield and Iowa’s Medicaid program with a billing code for psychotherapy visits lasting 45 to 50 minutes. “In fact, Hauser did not provide more than minimal individual psychotherapy” during the visits, in which he adjusted patients’ medications, prosecutors wrote in documents accompanying his plea agreement.
The plea agreement said that after Medicaid officials informed him he was using an incorrect billing code, Hauser continued to submit “up-coded” bills to Wellmark, which is the state’s dominant private health-insurer. Prosecutors said the total amount in question was between $15,000 and $95,000.
Hauser’s lawyer, Gail Brashers-Krug, said Thursday that Hauser has retired and has no intention of attempting to practice medicine again. She stressed that the allegations against him were strictly about billing. “There is no allegation that he in any way was negligent in his patient care,” she said. Brashers-Krug said Hauser practiced psychiatry for nearly 40 years, and focused on pediatric cases.. “He is very proud of the work he has done to help so many children,” she said.
Iowa Ex-Con Psychiatrist Richard Hauser
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