Signs of $14.7 Million Medicare Fraud from Mountain Home Doctor Date Back for Years

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

The early 1990s was a rough time for Dr. Johnson. The first of what would be more than two dozen complaints involving over-testing was filed against him at the state Medical Board, though no action was taken against him for many years.

He also struggled with alcoholism. In 1991, he spent four to five months in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. (Johnson revealed the treatment in a statement filed with the Medical Board, but it is unclear whether he was forced into the program or went voluntarily.)

Doctors’ Concerns

Cynthia Johnson told Arkansas Business that other cardiologists who worked for the hospital in Mountain Home, Baxter Regional Medical Center, didn’t like her husband because he was competition.

She said that in the early 2000s, the doctors tried to have his privileges revoked at the hospital and conducted a scathing review of his work.

In 2003, Cynthia Johnson hired Dr. J. David Talley of Paducah, Ky., to review Dr. Johnson’s files that the other hospital doctors had inspected. Talley’s report, which Cynthia Johnson provided to Arkansas Business, found no fault with Dr. Johnson’s work.

“It appears that Dr. Johnson is a caring cardiologist who pays attention to patients’ symptoms and wants to make a diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan,” Talley wrote. “I personally find this refreshing.”

A Baxter Regional Medical Center spokeswoman said last week that Johnson was a member of the hospital’s medical staff in good standing until he lost his license in 2009.

In 2003, Dr. Johnson decided to expand his medical office to include a blood lab, nuclear cardiology, imaging and outpatient surgery.

“I was aiming for better care for my patients in an environment that I could have more control,” he wrote in a 2011 application to recover his medical license. “I wanted to break even and make a living, but we gave out a lot of free care.”

The 19,000-SF, three-story building opened in 2004 and cost about $11 million. The building was attached by a covered walkway to his medical clinic. He also used the third floor of the building as an apartment.

The expansion helped Johnson’s billings balloon from $2.6 million in 2003 to $8.6 million in 2006.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.