Dallas Doctor Indicted on Charges of Medical Billing Fraud

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Dr. Richard Ferdinand Toussaint Jr. is an anesthesiologist, who co-founded Dallas' Forest Park Medical Center and started Ascendant Anesthesia, which has 16 practice locations. However, Toussaint has also been indicted on 17 accounts of medical billing fraud. Toussaint allegedly submitted phony claims to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. The indictment states that during 18 months in 2009 and 2010, Toussaint falsely claimed he was doing his job, when in reality he was nowhere near the operating room. The document also claims that Toussaint inflated the amount of time the procedures took and pre-signed patients' medical records representing the procedure even before they took place.

Toussaint's attorney, a former federal prosecutor, says that he will plead not guilty to the medical billing fraud charges. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, the feds believe that Toussaint billed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas for more than $8 million, of which at least $5 million was fraudulent. The allegations pertain to conduct in his private practice, and do not affect Ascendant Anesthesia. Moreover, Ascendant Anesthesia says that Dr. Toussaint has retired from the organization and no longer has any operational, managerial or related roles with the firm.

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Caroline Smith is currently a senior at the University of Notre Dame and is a contributor to Medical Groups. She is majoring in Science-Business and Spanish. After graduation, Caroline plans on entering the field of healthcare consulting. She is most interested in the evolving policy changes in the healthcare industry and enjoys learning about new technologies that are being developed.