Seventh Surgeon Pleads Guilty In Forest Park Medical Center Bribery Scam
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Erin Nealy Cox, announced that a Mesquite-based bariatric surgeon recently admitted his role in the $200 million Forest Park Medical Center fraud.
53-year-old Wade Neal Barker, one of Forest Park’s founding doctors, appeared in court this morning, where he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pay and receive healthcare bribes and kickbacks as well as aiding and abetting commercial bribery.
Barker is the seventh of 21 defendants to formally plead guilty in the bribery scheme, designed to induce doctors to refer lucrative patients – particularly those with high-reimbursing, out-of-network private insurance – to the now-defunct hospital, as opposed to other facilities.
“Patients trust doctors to make healthcare recommendations based on their best interests,” said Nealy Cox. “Instead, Dr. Barker let his own financial considerations guide decisions about where patients would be treated – and, in the process, defrauded millions from patients’ insurance. The Northern District of Texas will not tolerate plots that undermine confidence in the healthcare system.”
Forest Park Medical Center has been accused of paying approximately $40 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals. The executives built a strong network of surgeons, primary care physicians, chiropractors, lawyers and worker’s compensation pre-authorization specialists who sent patients to the physician-owned, out-of-network hospital.
The hospital was meant to be welcoming and luxurious. You can get a sense of what the founders were trying to accomplish in this marketing video as Dr. Wade Barker, Dr. Paul Saadi and Dr. Greenburg discuss what makes Forest Park Medical Center the best medical facility for them and their patients:
According to prosecutors, Barker and his co-conspirators shelled out approximately $40 million in bribes, disguised as “marketing money” and funneled through a shell company, between 2009 and 2013. Because he performed surgeries at Forest Park, Barker received these so-called “marketing” payments as well.
“With the plea in this conspiracy to defraud patients and the healthcare industry by those entrusted to administer and to protect it, the FBI and our law enforcement and regulatory partners will increase our efforts to shine even brighter lights on such schemes to restore the missing trust for all those harmed by the conspirator's actions,” said Eric Jackson, Special Agent-In-Charge of the FBI Dallas Division.
He faces roughly five to seven years in federal prison. Sentencing has not yet been set.
Co-defendants Richard Ferdinand Toussaint, Jr., another Forest Park Founder, and Alan Andrew Beauchamp, the hospital manager, have pleaded guilty in the case, along with several others. The remaining defendants are awaiting trial early next year.