Doctor guilty in Medicare fraud case
Post Independent Staff
Retired Glenwood Springs pediatrician Dr. Gerald Slater pleaded guilty Friday to felony theft for defrauding Medicaid. He is set to be sentenced on April 29.
The terms of the plea bargain include a four-year deferred sentence and repayment of the $55,000 he was convicted of stealing from Medicaid, said Mark Zammuto, first assistant in the Colorado attorney general’s office.
Slater, 59, of Glenwood Springs was indicted by a state grand jury on March 7, 2003, on two charges of theft, two charges of computer crime and two charges of offering a false instrument for recording in the first degree, all felonies. If convicted on all charges, Slater faced up to 54 years in state prison.
But Zammuto said the state Medicare Fraud Unit is most interested in getting the money back, so they agreed in the plea bargain to charge Slater with just one count of felony theft.
Zammuto said he’s not requesting prison time as part of the plea bargain, but the final decision on possible jail time and fines will be up to 9th District Judge T. Peter Craven, who is scheduled to preside at Slater’s sentencing hearing.
“We’re interested in getting the money back, and it’s up to the judge to decide on what other conditions there are,” Zammuto said.
Specifically, Slater was found guilty of submitting fraudulent bills to Medicaid, the federal program that reimburses medical providers when they give medical assistance to the needy.
According to the grand jury indictment, during 1997, 2000 and 2001, Slater treated 54 “neonates” ” a term that refers to babies from birth until they’re 30 days old ” at Valley View Hospital. Parents of all 54 babies were eligible for Medicaid.
Slater then billed Medicaid at the highest possible “code” for all 54 babies ” a code that would only be used if the babies were in extremely critical condition. Only one of the babies was actually in critical condition.
Zammuto said Slater is expected to pay back the entire $55,000 on the day he’s sentenced, April 29.
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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