Chemo criminal: Experts available to discuss fraud case sentencing of Dr. Farid Fata

July 6, 2015
Contact: Laura Bailey baileylm@umich.edu

EXPERTS ADVISORY

University of Michigan experts can discuss the case of Dr. Farid Fata, a Detroit-area oncologist whose sentencing on multiple counts of Medicare fraud and conspiracy related to administering unnecessary chemotherapy to healthy patients was scheduled to begin today.

Christopher Friese, oncology nurse, assistant professor and researcher at the U-M School of Nursing, said lack of oversight and flawed delivery system must be fixed to stop unscrupulous doctors like Farid Fata. Friese has 18 years experience as an oncology nurse and has consulted with attorneys on several cancer-care related malpractice cases.

“The oversight for cancer care is deeply flawed,” Friese said. “We rely on whistleblowers and insurance claim investigators to identify trouble. That’s years too late. Patients and families rarely complain, and there is no central, easy place for patients to go.”

The reimbursement system needs overhauling, he said. “The incentives for cancer clinics is perverse. We need to change the payment structure for cancer care so clinics and doctors make money for a patient’s entire episode of care, regardless of the drugs they give or tests they order. There are some efforts underway but more is needed.”

Friese says patients can protect themselves. “Patients and families should not be afraid to speak up if they are unsure of the diagnosis or treatment plan. A physician who is skeptical or hostile to a request for second opinion is a red flag.”

Contact Friese: 734-647-4308, cfriese@umich.edu


 

Ellen M. Lavoie Smith, director of the U-M School of Nursing doctoral program, has worked as either an oncology chemotherapy nurse, a clinical nurse specialist or a nurse practitioner since 1982.

She has more than 30 years of clinical and research experience related to the care of patients receiving chemotherapy. Her research focuses on managing neurologic side effects of chemotherapy.

Contact Smith: 734- 936-1267, ellenls@umich.edu