FARGO (AP) - A Seattle doctor accused of turning in phony Medicare claims that included nursing home visits to patients who were dead pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court.
Bruce C. Chen pleaded not guilty to six counts, including health care fraud and false statements related to health care. Trial is scheduled for Nov. 19 in Fargo.
The case is being tried in North Dakota because Fargo-based Noridian Healthcare Solutions LLC processes and pays Medicare Part B claims in Washington state.
Authorities said many of Chen's claims for face-to-face appointments occurred when he was out of the country.
Chen, who appeared Wednesday via video from Seattle along with his lawyer, Robert Flennaugh II, faces a maximum penalty of 45 years in prison. Flennaugh did not respond to requests for an interview.
U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon declined comment because the case has not been decided.
Authorities said Chen submitted 673 claims for medical services in the Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., area from 2007 through 2010, when he allegedly was out of the country. He is accused of turning in 212 claims between April 2007 and July 2012 for nursing home visits that never took place.
The indictment said Chen failed to keep accurate notes of patient records for services billed to Medicare and also submitted his own claims to the federal program.
The government is asking Chen to pay back any losses and forfeit all property and proceeds that were gained as a result of the scheme. Those damages were been specified.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Klein ordered to Chen to remain on supervised release with conditions, including restriction of travel only to North Dakota. Chen had earlier surrendered his U.S. and China passports.