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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Monroeville psychiatrist charged with continuing to work while under suspension
By Torsten Ove
February 5, 2015

Psychiatrist Jopindar Harika

Psychiatrist Jopindar Harika

A Monroeville psychiatrist with a felony conviction for bogus billings in the 1990s has been charged again with writing prescriptions and seeing hundreds of patients in the eastern part of the state while under suspension in the spring of 2012.

Jopindar Harika, 61, of Red Oak Court, turned himself in on Thursday to authorities in Cumberland County, where the state attorney general’s office will prosecute him for Medicaid fraud and related theft counts.

A state grand jury recommended the charges in December following an investigation by the state’s Medicaid fraud unit.

Agents presented evidence that Dr. Harika, a contractor at three mental health facilities in Philadelphia and Berks counties, saw at least 565 patients and wrote prescriptions for 453 of them while his license was suspended by the Department of State for 32 days from late March 2012 to the beginning of May that year.

The grand jury said he billed nearly $60,000 to Medicaid through the agencies, which paid him $73,380 in salary, although many clients he reported seeing during that time were not billed to Medicaid. One of the agencies returned $135,000 in fraudulent billing because of Dr. Harika’s suspended license.

He had been suspended for failure to pay child support as part of a divorce and custody case in Allegheny County dating to 2005, according to the grand jury presentment.

In addition to the theft-related charges, the grand jury said he took illegible psychiatric notes, failed to provide comprehensive assessment and treatment for patients with trauma and substance abuse histories, and overlapped session times for multiple services that were billed.

Dr. Harika previously pleaded guilty in 1997 to billing the former Somerset State Hospital for more than $84,000 of work he never performed. He was ordered to serve four years of probation and pay restitution.

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Jopindar Harika