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Mahwah ophthalmologist with Englewood practice admits lying to feds

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Mahwah ophthalmologist with a medical practice in Englewood admitted in federal court in Newark today to lying to federal agents during a health care fraud investigation into the reuse of single-use vials of prescription medication for multiple patients.

Bernard J. Fowler, 68, pleaded guilty to making false statements to agents with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector.

Fowler was a licensed and board-certified ophthalmologist, operating his own medical practice called Retina Vitreous Consultants, when he was interviewed by HHS-OIG special agents on July 27, 2011, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

Fowler no longer operates the practice.

Fowler admitted that in 2008 and 2009 he administered injections from one vial of Lucentis to more than one patient several times but deliberately told the investigating agents that he didn’t.

“In addition to the potential health risks of reusing single-use vials on multiple individuals, such reuse can generate fraudulent billings to patients and insurers based on the approximately $2,000 cost of a full vial,” Fishman said.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 24.

Fishman credited special agents of HHS-OIG and the FBI for the investigation leading to the guilty plea, negotiated by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott B. McBride and R. David Walk of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Health Care and Government Fraud Unit.

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