How Forest Park Medical Center Players Got Away With Paying Medical Kickbacks for So Long

The Forest Park Medical Center federal bribery and kickback trial in Dallas resulted in landmark convictions against the hospital's managers and doctors. It also exposed Texas' longstanding failure to police medical kickbacks under state law. Texas authorities have never enforced the state's version of the federal anti-kickback law, according to testimony in the trial. And when faced with a key opportunity to do so — against those same doctors and owners at a different hospital — state investigators came up empty. Vista Hospital in Garland was considered a precursor to Forest Park — a training ground where the conspirators learned how to pull off their own kickback and bribery scheme beginning in 2009, prosecutors said. "They saw this, and they wanted a piece of the action," Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Wirmani told the Forest Park jury. Specifically, they learned how to hide behind "marketing" contracts at Vista to illegally pay doctors and others for surgeries, prosecutors said. Vista, which the feds called an "old, beaten-down former psychiatric hospital," closed its doors in 2011 due to competition from the newer, state-of-the-art Forest Park, according to lawsuits between the two companies.   Continue reading...

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