Two MU School of Medicine doctors resign after investigation cites billing fraud

Friday, June 1, 2012 | 2:13 p.m. CDT; updated 12:38 a.m. CDT, Saturday, June 2, 2012
Harold A. Williamson Jr., vice chancellor of the University of Missouri Health System, said at a press conference Friday at Acuff Auditorium that two doctors in the Radiology Department resigned after a federal investigation cited billing fraud.

COLUMBIA – Two doctors at MU's School of Medicine resigned after a federal investigation found billing fraud in the Radiology Department. 

The dean of the School of Medicine, Robert Churchill, will leave the university in October after preliminary findings from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas City revealed the fraudulent billing in the Radiology Department. Churchill was not implicated in the investigation but chose to retire.

Two physicians cited in the investigation, Kenneth Rall and Michael Richards, have left the university. Harold Williamson, vice chancellor of the University of Missouri Health System, announced the departures at a news conference Friday afternoon. 

"The finding of fraudulent bills was troubling enough that we felt we needed to act immediately," Williamson said. 

The investigation began in November 2011 and remains ongoing. Any criminal charges against the doctors involved would be decided by the U.S. Department of Justice, Williamson said.

Williamson described the findings as a "profound disappointment" and said the school was cooperating with the investigation. 

The investigation's initial findings allege that the Radiology Department violated billing rules of both Medicaid and Medicare and possibly other insurance providers.

Rall, the former chair of the Radiology Department, and Richards are accused of not reviewing patient images as required under Medicare rules. Williamson said the university will pay for the patients affected to have their images reviewed by outside physicians. 

Williamson said the university still does not know the dollar amount involved in the fraudulent billing. 

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