NEWARK - The State Board of Medical Examiners (BME) has revoked the medical license of physician Swapnadip Lahiri, M.D., finding that his conduct in performing grossly negligent examinations and electrodiagnostic testing of patients using fabricated data, issuing misinterpreted reports, and billing at inflated fees, was willful and intentional conduct which could not be blamed on inadequate training.
Other allegations were found proved, as well. These findings were in addition to proofs that he had failed to notify the BME that New York State had filed a Complaint which included similar grounds, after which he surrendered the New York license on terms forbidding him to practice there.
An Administrative Law Judge in December 2009, despite having found deficiencies in Lahiri’s conduct which were “legion”, had ascribed some errors to inadequate training and had recommended a three-year suspension for Lahiri. The first year would have been active and the remainder a period of probation during which he could practice medicine, provided that he attended remedial courses in medical record keeping, billing, coding, and electrodiagnostic procedures before resuming his medical practice.
The BME adopted all findings of fact and conclusions of law by the judge, but in reviewing that evidence, found that the misconduct was not merely incompetence or insufficient training, but involved intentional or willful conduct.
“The board, which is composed primarily of physicians along with public members, has discretion to weigh all the evidence presented to the judge,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said. “The board members determined that Lahiri acted in a deliberate and willful manner and that greater disciplinary action was warranted to safeguard the public.”
“Disciplinary proceedings such as this one illustrate how our healthcare boards oversee the professionals they license and how they act to protect patients,” said Sharon Joyce, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “The public can file complaints with our licensing boards when they believe a licensee has acted improperly.”
The Complaint, filed in 2006, was transferred to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing in June 2007. The hearing began in January 2008 and concluded in December of that year. Two expert witnesses testified for the state about the services and care provided by Lahiri.
In its decision, the court found the defense witnesses unpersuasive, and concluded that the state had proven its allegations against Lahiri. The allegations included grossly incompetent consultations/examinations of six “auto accident” case patients referred by one physician or by chiropractors for electrodiagnostic testing; incompetent nerve conduction tests performed by Lahiri’s technician which produced duplicated test results and fabricated data; incompetent needle electromyography testing by Lahiri resulting in unsupportable diagnoses; and unbundled and inflated billing for all the patients. Lahiri had been practicing at various medical facilities in New York and in northern New Jersey from 2001 to 2006.
In addition to revoking Lahiri’s license, the BME adopted all of the other recommendations contained in the judge’s decision. The recommendations included payment of $145,302 to reimburse the state’s investigative and legal costs and $5,077 to reimburse patients or their insurance carriers. Lahiri also must pay an $85,000 civil penalty to the state.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Joan D. Gelber represented the state in this matter.