On January 14, 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri announced that Dr. David Quang Pham, DPM, pled guilty to obstructing a criminal investigation of health care offenses. The government charged that upon learning that he was being investigated for health care fraud, Dr. Pham created false treatment notes for services he did not render. According to the government, Dr. Pham: (1) submitted reimbursement claims for treating the feet of patients whose feet had been amputated prior to the dates of service; (2) falsely claimed he had provided services to patients in the nursing homes where they resided on days when the patients were actually hospitalized and had received no service from Dr. Pham; and (3) permitted his unqualified assistant to provide services, although she was not a doctor, nurse or otherwise trained or licensed to provide the services. http://www.justice.gov/usao/moe/press_ releases/archived_press_releases/2010_press_releases/january/pham_david.html

This case serves as a reminder that attempts to cover up potential health care fraud or to obstruct the government’s investigation will only serve to dramatically compound a provider’s problems. Cooperation with government investigations and investigators should always be full and transparent and providers would be well-advised to consult with competent legal counsel as soon as they become aware of a possible government investigation.