OGDENSBURG A former Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center employee has been sent to prison for health care fraud after he lied about his qualifications to practice medicine.
Fitzgerald A. Hudson, 53, Dearborn Heights, Mich., was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court, Buffalo, to two years in prison and three years of supervised release. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $227,548.35.
Mr. Hudson was convicted of illegally practicing medicine from 2008 to 2010. He worked in the Claxton-Hepburn emergency room for several months in 2008 until he resigned under threat of firing for providing substandard care, including allowing a patient with chest pains and abnormal electrocardiogram readings to go untreated for hours. However, Mr. Hudson later told another employer he left the job because of a long commute.
Claxton-Hepburn officials have been unavailable for comment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who handled the case, said that weeks after leaving Ogdensburg, Mr. Hudson submitted an application and was accepted to work as a doctor in the Emergency Department at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, Allegany County, with his employer billing Medicare and insurance companies for services he was not qualified to provide. The state revoked his medical license in 2010.
In his application, Mr. Hudson asserted that he had earned a medical degree from York University in Ontario, that he never voluntarily had withdrawn or resigned any employment or privileges at any health-care facility in order to avoid the imposition of disciplinary measures and that he never had been denied or suspended from any health-care facility.
In fact, Mr. Hudson did not have a degree from York. Moreover, in addition to being forced out of Claxton-Hepburn, he had been suspended from his duties as a resident and dismissed from the residency program because of academic incompetence at the Warren Hospital Family Practice Residency Program in Phillipsburg, N.J.
The government presented evidence that, while employed at Jones Memorial Hospital, Mr. Hudson treated a 5-year-old child who died shortly thereafter. That case is the subject of an ongoing wrongful death civil lawsuit in state court.