3:06pm: Hotline with Dave Weekley

Raleigh County physician pleads guilty to healthcare fraud

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —  The United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia announced Wednesday that a Raleigh County physician has pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.

US Attorney for the Southern District of WV Mike Stuart

In a statement, US Attorney Mike Stuart said Dr. Manuel C. Barit, M.D., the only practicing physician at Mullens Family Clinic in Wyoming County, agreed to a plea deal, in which he admitted to submitting claims indicating he had treated patients at the clinic on dates when he was outside of the United States.  According to Stuart, Barit also agreed to surrender his West Virginia medical license and his Drug Enforcement Administration registration.

“This is a significant case for a number of reasons,” said Stuart.  “Dr. Barit will never practice medicine and will never write a prescription in West Virginia ever again.  The pill pushers and drug dealers in lab coats have wreaked havoc and harm on our good citizens and we shall continue doing everything in our power to hold those responsible accountable.”

Prosecutors in the case were assisted by the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit, as part of a recently-enacted Department of Justice initiative using computer data patterns to identify health care providers suspected of contributing to the national opioid crisis. The Southern District of West Virginia is one of 12 districts in the United States participating in the pilot program.

Barit faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced in May.