A Saskatoon allergy doctor tried to squeeze as much money as he could out of the system in how he billed for his work, a medical disciplinary hearing was told Friday.
Brian Salte, representing the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons, said Dr. Larry Hardy knowingly ignored the province’s billing rules to boost his income and should be found guilty of unprofessional conduct.
But Hardy’s lawyer – his son John – argued the six charges are based on ambiguous paperwork and are weakly supported by a disgruntled employee “who went on a long-term fishing trip” through the doctor’s files.
Final arguments on the case were heard Friday. The discipline panel, a committee of doctors from the college’s membership, will release a decision later this year.
Hardy, 65, is accused of charging patients as if they’d been referred by their family doctor when they hadn’t. A specialist like Hardy can charge $81 for a referral visit while other consultations are worth $45 to $60 less.
He’s also alleged to have billed too much for allergy tests, charged for seeing patients on days when he was actually in hospital, and billed for patients he didn’t see.
“There’s no explanation for billing for someone who isn’t there,” Salte said.
The college called about 80 witnesses in its case. The amount of money involved in the ‘referral’ charge is estimated at $10,000 to $17,000.
Hardy’s former secretary Jan Martin was the college’s key witness.
Salte said evidence from patients and other doctors supported everything she said.
John Hardy said evidence showed it was Martin who was mistaken.
Patients she said never showed were in the office, Hardy said. In one or two cases he did bill for children after talking to their parents, he said.
“Clearly Dr. Hardy did render his services, he is entitled to be paid for them,” Hardy argued.
Regarding the referrals – as well as the other charges – Hardy said the college needed to prove Dr. Hardy knowingly misled the billing officials. The patients were initially referred to him by their family physicians and he thought they’d been referred again when they returned, Hardy argued.
He acknowledged Dr. Hardy shouldn’t have billed the way he did when nurses treated patients on Feb. 1, 1994, but he said the doctor’s own cancer diagnosis was distracting him at the time.
Salte said Dr. Hardy’s evidence was “evasive in the extreme. He wouldn’t admit responsibility for anything.”
Tuum Est - It Is Up To You
Greed often finds more pleasure in taking from others than in giving to itself.
The Pocket Philosopher
Copyright © 2008-2019 Georgena Sil. All Rights Reserved.