Unethical practices by a medical practioner can prove costly to a patient’s health as well as says Alabama liability attorney Keith T. Belt Maryland, the epicenter du jour for high-profile “unnecessary-stenting” cases in the US, is in the spotlight again this week following a guilty verdict in the case of interventional cardiologist Dr John R Mclean. A federal jury convicted McLean, 59, on six charges of healthcare fraud relating to insurance claims he’d filed for stents deemed to have been placed unnecessarily, as well as for ordering unnecessary tests and making false entries in patient medical records. “The evidence shows that Dr McLean egregiously violated the trust of his patients and made false entries in their medical records to justify implanting unneeded cardiac stents and billing for the surgery and follow-up care,” US Attorney Rod J Rosenstein said in a statement released by the Office of the Inspector General. McLean faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for healthcare fraud and five years in prison on each of five counts of making false statements, the OIG statement notes. McLean’s sentencing is scheduled for November 10, 2011. As previously reported by heartwire, McLean resigned his hospital privileges at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, MD in 2007, citing visual impairment as the reason for his resignation. Hospital administrators, however, acting on an anonymous tip, had conducted internal and external reviews leading them to conclude that McLean had implanted as many as 25 stents in patients who did not meet the clinical criteria for PCI. During the two-week trial that ended in yesterday’s conviction, evidence brought forward suggested that McLean had performed cardiac catheterizations and implanted unnecessary cardiac stents in more than 100 patients. “He then falsely recorded in the patients’ medical records the existence or extent of coronary artery blockage, known as lesions, observed during the procedures in order to justify the stent and the submission of claims to healthcare benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid,” the OIG statement reads. The US government is also seeking to recoup what it estimates to have been the proceeds of McLean’s scheme—a forfeiture of $711 583. The precise amount will be determined at the time of sentencing.