Health

Saturday, Dec 29 2012 12:00 AM

Doctor penalized for records errors, theft

BY RACHEL COOK Californian staff writer rcook@bakersfield.com

A doctor licensed in Kern County has been put on seven years' probation effective Dec. 20 and suspended from practicing medicine for 60 days starting Jan. 5 by the Medical Board of California after he pleaded no contest to grand theft and altering medical records last year, according to Medical Board records.

An accusation available on the Medical Board's website said that Dr. Bihari M. Shah pleaded no contest to the charges in a Kings County case after the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation alleged that Shah was submitting altered anesthesia records to the department for inmates "to show an increase in the time patients were under anesthesia, allowing [Shah] to charge more for the procedure."

The department made a fraud referral to the Office of the Inspector General "on or about September 2009" and four felony charges and one misdemeanor charge were filed against Shah in October 2010, the records said. Shah, who is 68 according to public records, pleaded guilty to two charges "on or about" Feb. 23, 2011, the accusation said.

The doctor was sentenced to five years probation, 90 days in the Kern County Jail with two days credit for "good time/work time" and 500 hours of community service, the accusation said. He was also fined $3,800 and ordered to pay $200 restitution, the accusation said.

Shah did not return a message left by The Californian.

The Medical Board of California adopted the terms of a stipulated settlement and disciplinary order in November, according the records on the board's website.

According to the terms of the settlement, Shah must complete a medical record keeping course and a professionalism program (ethics course). He must also undergo psychiatric and medical evaluations as required by the board and have his "practice and billing" monitored or take part in a "professional enhancement program." He is forbidden from supervising physician assistants during his probation, the settlement said.

Shah has completed a probation term before, according to the medical board's website. He was placed on probation for 35 months in December 1999 effective January 2000, a decision and order from the medical board said.

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