Early Wednesday it was confirmed that Florida neurologist Dr. Sean Orr is taking a leave of absence after a NBC News Report revealed how he allegedly misdiagnosed patients with multiple sclerosis so he could bill them for pricey, painful treatments. Federal prosecutors called him a “greedy conman.” Dr. Orr was employed at the Brian & Spine Center in Panama City.
In May the U.S. Attorney’s Office settled a lawsuit with Orr that accused him of intentionally misdiagnosing patients with life-changing neurological illnesses and then inappropriately billing federal health-care programs. Orr agreed to pay $150,000 to the U.S. Treasury Department that will go to reimburse the federal health-care programs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced in May. The settlement amount was based on Orr’s ability to pay. Baptist Health also was sued as prosecutors accused the hospital of failing to tell patients or the government that Orr intentionally misdiagnosed patients with serious neurological diseases.
Hospital officials settled that lawsuit last year for $2.5 million but deny its doctors did anything wrong. The U.S. Attorney’s office confirms that Dr. Orr’s fraud started in 2009 and continued until 2012. Orr had somewhere between 2,500 and 3,500 patients. His medical license is active until Jan. 31, 2016. Since January 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice has recovered about $24 billion through False Claims Act cases, which is about $15.3 billion involving fraud against federal health-care programs.
Our office will relentlessly pursue physicians who misdiagnose and harm patients to satisfy their financial greed,” U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III said previously. “We expect physicians to act honestly, with integrity and in accordance with the approved standards of medical care. When they do not, we all suffer.”
Lee Bentley, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, said when his investigators began looking into the allegations, they uncovered massive billing fraud. “Dr. Orr was a greedy conman,” Bentley said. “He was able to convince patients who trusted him that they had MS and other debilitating neurological diseases and disorders. He used that to enrich himself and to also enhance his credibility as a top neurologist in Florida.” The Florida Health Department said it could not confirm if there is an open investigation into the alleged fraud. Orr still faces lawsuits from individual patients, and his legal problems may not stop there. “It’s possible there may be criminal charges,” Bentley said.