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Anesthesiologist with Offices in Newark, Union, Belleville, South Orange Gets License Revoked

By kcora on
Newark Union Township (Union) Belleville South Orange

A North Jersey anesthesiologist, under criminal indictment for health care claims fraud, has been stripped of his medical license by the state Board of Medical Examiners for gross and repeated malpractice that includes giving unnecessary steroid injections to patients, creating fictitious patient records, and indiscriminately prescribing pain pills without medical justification.

Dr. Amgad Hessein, who owned Advanced Pain Management Specialists in Newark, Union, Belleville, and South Orange, also must pay a $130,000 civil penalty, and reimburse the state $308,750 for its investigative and prosecuting costs, under the Board’s Final Decision and Order.

Hessein, who specialized in pain management, regularly used invasive procedures and injections -such as epidural steroid injections - to treat patients. In revoking his license, the Board deemed Hessein a “fundamentally corrupt and/or incompetent practitioner” who showed a “shocking disregard for patient safety and welfare.”

The 59-year-old Hessein, who lives in Belmar, is awaiting trial in Union County on charges of conspiracy, health care claims fraud, and theft by deception. Hessein, along with his office manager, is charged of submitting more than $1.5 million in fraudulent Medicare and private health care claims between 2006 and 2010. His license has been temporarily suspended since shortly after his indictment in 2011.

The Board’s final decision to revoke Hessein’s license upholds the recommendation of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who heard the case last fall. The ALJ found that Hessein had engaged in repeated acts of gross negligence, fraud, and other violations of state statutes and regulations.

Among the misconduct the Board cited:

*Administering steroid injections without medical justification and/or failing to stop administering ineffective steroid injections.

*Failing to inform patients of potential, serious risks before performing injections.

*Neglecting to follow up on patients’ potentially dangerous symptoms and complaints.

*Failing to monitor vital signs of patients under sedation.

*Refilling pain medication prescriptions without medical justification.

*Allowing and billing for unlicensed employees to render physical therapies.

*Creating fictitious patient records and submitting health claims based on those false records.

Hessein’s attorney had argued against revocation, asking that the board instead impose an alternative sanction, such as a license suspension for a limited period. But the Board rejected that request, stating that Hessein’s judgment and character was so corrupt, and his disregard for patient safety so flagrant and pervasive, that revoking his license was the only way to adequately protect the public.

Hessein’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin in Union County on June 20, 2016.

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.