Business Ethics Gone Bad – CANNON FAMILY MEDICINE, INC. Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud

October 26, 2008

A Kannapolis physician assistant Faces Up to Ten Years in federal prison – what for?  Is the need to achieve wealth or increase material possessions so great that it is worth one’s freedom?  That is the very real question that I had to face when some 13 years ago I took my first steps into federal prison.  Now another will take those steps soon.

CHRISTOPHER J. CAGGIANO, president of CANNON FAMILY MEDICINE, INC.- Kannapolis, North Carolina – plead guilty to four counts of health care fraud.

In July 2006, the N.C. Medical Board suspended Caggiano’s license to work as a physician assistant for two years. But the suspension was to be stayed on Jan. 1, 2007, and Caggiano was to remain on probation for the duration of the suspension.  Caggiano was accused of ordering unnecessary tests for some patients and billing patients’ insurance companies for tests not performed.  At the time, Caggiano said the allegations were untrue and blamed any misunderstandings on disgruntled former employees. The complaint investigated by the medical board also alleged that the physician assistant violated professional standards by allowing patients to refer to him as “Dr. Caggiano.”

The charges against CANNON FAMILY MEDICINE, INC. allege that the practice submitted false claims to private health insurance companies as well as false claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and federal employee health programs.

Each health care fraud count carries a maximum possible penalty of ten (10) years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years supervised release. The medical practice and CAGGIANO, a physician assistant, will be sentenced on February 11, 2009.

QUESTION:  What motivated Caggiano’s behavior?  Do you suppose that Caggiano, who will be sentenced to federal prison, will learn and use his prison experience to help others?  As a business ethics and white collar crime speaker, I know that prison does not have to be a dead end.  Every choice has a consequence this is just another example.

Your comments are welcome!