The Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons has disciplined a doctor, who now works in Ontario, for overbilling health officials for patients he never saw.
Dr. Creighton Hui has been fined $10,000 and ordered to pay more than $28,000 in costs related to the college's investigation into his case.
Hui has already paid $201,223 back to Manitoba Health for inappropriate house call billings he made between April 2011 and January 2012, according to the investigation report.
According to the college's report, Hui made arrangements in which a nurse practitioner from a Winnipeg medical clinic made house calls, with the visits billed in Hui's name.
The college says Hui lied to investigators and made false medical record entries that indicated he had seen the patients when, in fact, he had not.
"This doctor, in fact, lied to the college investigation chair on three separate occasions," college registrar Dr. Bill Pope told CBC News on Thursday.
"That really was the reason, I think, for the particularly significant penalty."
Winnipeg police are reviewing the case involving Hui, a spokesperson for Health Minister Erin Selby told CBC News.
Driven by financial gain
According to the college, Hui initially told investigators he was seeing patients with a live camera link that was established between a patient's home and his office, and he had signed off on chart record notes prepared by the nurse practitioner.
He later admitted that the live link was not established for every visit, and he did not check the records. He could not say how often the camera link was set up.
"Dr. Hui's initial judgment and perceptions with respect to the appropriateness of those arrangements with the nurse practitioner and the clinic were seriously compromised by his desire for financial gain," the report states in part.
Pope said doctors practising in Manitoba cannot bill for patients they don't see, and he is concerned this is the third such case the college has had to deal with recently.
"I'm most concerned, of course, about the fact that our members were, in fact, making inappropriate or false records, because that is something that goes to the ethics of a physician and the ability to deliver safe patient care," he said.
"We made it clear, which is all we can do, that it's inappropriate, totally inappropriate," Pope added. "I sincerely hope that there won't be any new issues arising from this."
Hui and the other doctors who have been investigated for overbilling worked at Four Rivers Medical Clinic in Winnipeg's North End, the clinic's owner confirmed.
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In addition to the fine, Hui has a reprimand placed on his record. He could not be suspended because he had already moved to Ontario, where he is practising in the Toronto area.
Pope said the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario will be made aware of Hui's disciplinary action in Manitoba.