A federal judge sentenced Atlanta radiologist Dr. Rajashahker Reddy to nearly five years in prison on Friday for falsifying “tens of thousands” of reports through teleradiology services to various Southeast hospitals.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian said in a press release that Reddy claimed to produce medical findings and diagnoses “where all those interpretations had been performed by non-qualified medical assistants.” (Click here to access the press release.)
Reddy’s company, Reddy Solutions Inc, provided remote radiology services to various hospitals in the Southeast United States. A staff of radiologists for the company was supposed to review images electronically and submit reports back to the hospital. But an investigation in 2007 and 2008 revealed the company was relying on a group of physician assistants at a fraction of the cost to perform the analysis. In some cases, investigators found Reddy told assistants just to sign for him.
Along with four years and six months in prison, Reddy was ordered to pay $919,000 in restitution and spend three years on supervised release following his sentence.
“This significant sentence is needed to protect the public from such an egregious breach of trust,” Quillian said in the release.
With a majority of U.S. hospitals relying on teleradiology services in some way or another, the case highlights one of the biggest risks for the industry as a whole. But with hospitals unlikely to employ radiologist at all hours of the night, teleradiology is likely here to stay, according to medical malpractice attorneys at Richards & Richards in Pennsylvania.
A recent story on MSNBC.com illustrates the very real danger that can occur from frauds like the one Reddy was convicted.