Written by Physician’s Weekly blogger, Skeptical Scalpel
Board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist Javaid Perwaiz is facing over 60 federal charges including 33 counts of making false statements related to healthcare matters, 25 counts of healthcare fraud, and three counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to a recent article on a Virginia TV station website, Perwaiz, whose practice was in Chesapeake, is alleged to have committed these crimes in a number of ways. He submitted false insurance claims for unnecessary procedures, falsified patient records, altered patient consent forms, and filed insurance claims for diagnostic procedures that were never performed. He used the results of those phantom exams to schedule surgery such as D&Cs, hysterectomies, and lysis of adhesions.
He also was accused of altering estimated dates of delivery so he could induce patients before the 39th week of pregnancy to make sure he was in the hospital and could bill for the delivery.
He convinced patients to undergo permanent sterilizations by falsely saying they were reversible, and he would backdate their consent forms to avoid Medicaid’s mandatory 30-day waiting period.
An earlier report in The Virginian-Pilot newspaper said the FBI was tipped off by a hospital employee who thought Perwaiz was doing unnecessary surgery. He had admitting privileges at three hospitals in the Hampton Roads area, one of which, Maryview Hospital, had terminated his privileges once before in 1983 “due to poor clinical judgment and for performing unnecessary surgeries.”
He had also been investigated by the Virginia Board of Medicine “for performing surgeries without appropriate medical indications and contrary to sound medical judgment.” The inquiry resulted in his being censured only for poor record-keeping.
The indictment says in 1996 Perwaiz pleaded guilty two counts of felony tax evasion and was sentenced to five years of probation. Among the fraudulent acts was his “attempting to claim the purchase of a Ferrari sports car as a business expense by labeling it as a purchase of an ultrasound machine for his practice.”
His Virginia medical license was suspended for about 10 weeks from late April to mid July of 1996 after which, “his medical license was reinstated and placed on indefinite stayed suspension with stipulated terms and conditions.” [Sounds pretty serious. Almost as bad as “double-secret probation.”] Several major health insurance plans barred Perwaiz from participation.
He regained privileges at Maryview Hospital in 1997 although his surgical cases were to be monitored. In September 1999, he was deemed to have complied with the terms and conditions, and his license restriction was lifted.
In 2012, a health care benefit program reviewed his cases because of a “long standing concern that he [Perwaiz] was over utilizing certain procedures in taking an overly aggressive approach in treating his patients.” They audited some of his charts and after discussing taking a conservative treatment approach with Perwaiz, allowed him to continue treating its patients.
Within the last three years, Perwaiz applied for provider status with two different healthcare insurance companies and answered “no” to the question “have you ever been convicted of, pled guilty to, or pled nolo contendere to any felony?” In addition, he did not reveal that Maryview Hospital had revoked his privileges in 1983.
The trial was to have started on September 28, but an outbreak of coronavirus at the jail where Perwaiz is being held forced a postponement.
The medical profession has often been criticized for failing to weed out bad actors. As far back as 1983, Perwaiz was in trouble for doing unnecessary surgery. He was let off the hook several times over the ensuing 37 years. How many patients were harmed?
Addendum: On November 9, 2020, Perwaiz was convicted of 52 counts of fraud. Full story here. Thanks to @signaturedoc for the follow-up.
Skeptical Scalpel is a retired surgeon and was a surgical department chair and residency program director for many years. He is board-certified in general surgery and a surgical sub-specialty and has re-certified in both several times.For the last 9 years, he has been blogging at SkepticalScalpel.blogspot.com and tweeting as @SkepticScalpel. His blog has had more than 3,700,000 page views, and he has over 21,000 followers on Twitter.