Dr. Richard Toussaint, a founding physician of Forest Park Medical Center, has been indicted on 17 counts of healthcare fraud that allegedly occurred in 2009 and 2010.
The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that Toussaint, an anesthesiologist, charged $8 million to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, UnitedHealthcare, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program over an 18-month period, $5 million of which was fraudulent. In federal-speak: he was “falsely claiming that he was present for and personally participating in the procedures.”
In reality, he was “under anesthesia undergoing surgery himself” or on a private jet or in another state or at another hospital “several miles away.” Toussaint is also accused of inflating the time it would take to perform these procedures. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says he would sign off on the patient medical records before the so-called procedures occurred. The fraudulent services were allegedly performed at Forest Park Medical Center and Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake.
“Toussaint would hand-write his initials in both the top and bottom right sections of the medical record in the ‘Pre-Anesthesia Consultation & Plan’ and ‘Anesthesia & Surgical Vents’ sections and then leave the hospital,” the indictment reads. “He would also hand-write on the chart ‘Present for induction and emergence’ along with his initials—knowing he would not be present for these events.”
He’d also order nurses and other caregivers to falsely claim he was present when he wasn’t. As such, the feds say he was “aided and abetted by others known and unknown to the grand jury” who helped develop his alleged fraud scheme and then acted on it. No one else has been accused of a crime.
Forest Park spokeswoman Kandace Cortez sent the below statement:
“The Forest Park Medical Center system was not the subject of today’s action taken by the United States Attorney’s Office. Richard Toussaint is not currently a practicing physician at Forest Park and is not associated with The Management Company at Forest Park Medical Center. As always, our focus on compliance and patient care remains unwavering. Today’s news will in no way affect Forest Park as we continue to pursue, with vigor, our strong commitment to providing patient care of unsurpassed quality.”
His attorney tells The Dallas Morning News he will plead not guilty. A phone number listed as Toussaint’s is disconnected.
Toussaint and Dr. Wade Barker, a bariatric surgeon, began planning to open the physician-owned hospital around 2007. Plastic surgeon Dr. David Genocov joined the operation soon after. The first phase of the hospital opened along Central Expressway in North Dallas in December 2009, marketed as an upscale alternative to competing hospitals. The amenities are modeled after a Ritz Carlton, the operating rooms are larger, the equipment is billed as state-of-the-art, and the nursing ratios are higher.
Since the Dallas location opened nearly six years ago, others have sprouted up in Fort Worth, Southlake, Frisco, and San Antonio. The opening of an Austin hospital has been pushed back about a year and ideally will be the anchor of a 59-acre mixed use development.
Much of that rapid growth is because of Derrick Evers, a young real commercial real estate developer who was previously with The Staubach Co. Toussaint and Barker lured him away and made him CEO of the Neal Richards Group, a commercial real estate company that helped secure equity and arrange debt financing for the hospitals.
As of last Friday, Evers is no longer with the Neal Richards Group, for reasons that have yet to be disclosed. The hospital system also has a new operating company known as The Management Company at Forest Park Medical Center, which is referenced in Forest Park’s statement.
“Me and my executive team have left Neal Richards Group,” Evers said when reached by phone. “They still have some of the other partners. We decided we wanted to go a different way than they are wanting to go.”
Toussaint was also a partner of the private equity firm glendonTodd Capital LLC, which launched in 2011. His name was scrubbed from its website, only appearing in this cached press release announcing its creation. Toussaint also does not appear on Forest Park’s or Neal Richards Group’s websites, and his picture has been removed from the anesthesia group he helped found, Ascendant Anesthesia. He still has a presence on the website of Lascaux Films, the Dallas-based film production company he co-founded. You may remember Lascaux as the since-shuttered production company responsible for the Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche vehicle Words and Pictures that kicked off the 2014 Dallas International Film Festival.
Todd Furniss, the CEO and managing partner at glendonTodd, sent an email saying Toussaint has not been involved with the firm for years:
“Dr. Toussaint has not been involved with gTC for several years. I am sorry to hear this news, for all concerned, especially his family.”
The feds, meanwhile, are calling for the forfeiture of any property and aircrafts in his name, as well as eight luxury cars:
- 2010 Rolls Royce Ghost
- 2011 Mercedes ML350
- 2012 Bentley Continental GT
- 2011 Bentley Mulsanne
- 2012 Rolls Royce Ghost
- 2012 McLaren MP4-12C
- 2015 McLaren 650S Spider
- 2016 Bentley Mulsanne
If convicted, each count carries 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine in addition to any restitution ordered in court.