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Unethical Doctors: What Can You Do?

This doctor is like the wolf in sheep's clothing

This doctor is like the wolf in sheep’s clothing

Having been my own boss for the past 13 years, I’ve gotten to make the rules. I have never tried to use fraudulent practices or take advantage of anyone. I even have moral dilemmas about selling products that I know are useful and help people with their daily lives. I’m certainly not perfect in many ways, but I’ve always been honest. I learned recently that not everyone in my profession shares my beliefs. What would you do if you know someone in your workplace is willingly engaging in unethical behavior?



Image: debspoons/Freedigitalphotos.net

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. I’ve been in science for a while now and periodically I’ve known of people who might be doing something unethical (fudging data). But the thing is that you’re never really sure. Are they just doing a crappy job, do they not know the right way to do something, or are they deliberately falsifying the data. You have to be very careful about accusing someone of wrongdoing until you know all the facts.

    • Yes, I need much more hard evidence before I make any sort of claims to agencies. I’m hoping that I can do things in the right way and maybe my example will carry over. Maybe I am also Mary Poppins, but it could happen.

  2. Isn’t there some sort of anonymous whistle-blowing procedure the way there is for reporting financial fraud to the SEC? If he really is double-billing, that’s seems like a huge deal.

    • From my experience, you can report him to the state board, but you have to give your contact information and it is a process. I could report him to Medicaid, but it would likely take years for anything to happen and if he is good at documentation, he could make up conditions and visits. If the patient doesn’t challenge it, it would be unlikely to go anywhere, and I would look like a jealous competitor who is looking to cause trouble. If I bide my time, I do believe I can add legit contact lens services to the clinic. It wouldn’t be hard, but this doc never tried because he is making money. If I could get this started and do it the right way, people might tend to see his way as the wrong way and the problem would solve itself.

  3. I’ve never had to deal with anything like that, but I do think that’s wrong. And that’s part of the reason that healthcare is so expensive in the U.S.

    • Yes, billing for something just because you can is certainly fraud, but if you are good at documenting, it’s really hard to get caught.

  4. Like Mrs. Pop said, is there anyway or any organization you can report him to anonymously? I’ve dealt with some, but no where near this level. It really is sad to see people like that gaming the system for their own benefit.

  5. We have plenty of them in my workplace. Normally if they are dobbed in nothing seems to happen. Then all of a sudden they are promoted out of their position so they can become someone elses problem. It’s enough to make you go insane.

    Hopefully everything works out for you Kim.

    • I tend to be like Switzerland and keep everyone happy, so I think I’ll be OK. If I directly challenged this guy, it might be another story.

  6. I have had plenty of unethical coworkers, but most of the time they were just milking the company we were working for and “just” reducing profit for said company. Coming from a doctor this is unacceptable. You rely on a doctor to provide unbiased opinions, you put your most valuable asset, your health, in his/her hands and those people are already an under privileged population, taking advantage of rich housewives to push pills is one thing but this is really worse.

  7. Unfortunately I think you can’t do too much without solid evidence. I don’t see how he could be prosecuted without at least a few other witnesses and/or hard evidence to indict him. I’m not sure about all the legalities, but there has to be some group out there that pursues these cases. I’ve read some crazy stories about people making insane cash off of the medicaid/medicare system (sometimes legitimately, sometimes illegally). It’s unfortunate to hear about another case, and I’d just encourage you to look into finding some hard evidence or see if there is some group that will listen to whistleblowers and see if they can build a case.

    • Yes, I need more proof and more time to figure out the extent of all that is going on. As I build up more trust with the staff, I continue to find out more. Someday, someone will give me something I can use. I don’t want to ruin him, but he needs to play by the rules.

  8. Your last paragraph says “I am just trying to do my job.” Perhaps many others at the clinic are also just trying to do their job, and know this is unethical but don’t say anything.

    You could say something directly to the other Physician. “Hey, man. We don’t fit contacts here. Your selling them is illegal, and you need to stop.”

    A quick Google search on reporting Medicaid fraud gets a link to CMS.gov. I would start there, if he isn’t receptive to your comments.

    • I don’t think he’s going to change at this point. I think it’s probably like pirating DVD’s. It’s wrong, but hard to get caught. Glad to have so many opinions in my favor that this is wrong and probably should be reported in some way. I just have to be careful not to lose my position in the process.

  9. Geez, that guy should be in jail. that’s probably only scratching the surface when you consider medicaid and medicare fraud. Which as I understand runs rampant in the medical community. My tax dollars. Oh well…..

  10. It is people like this that are causing healthcare costs to rise. Double billing and billing for services not rendered is a huge problem in the US. I do believe that there are whistle blowing procedures for things like this, but that would be up to you. There is always someone working the system to get more money.

    • Since he leaves no records and it’s all word of mouth, it’s hard to prove. I’m not even sure selling contacts under the table is illegal, it’s just wrong. The insurance fraud is the worse thing, and I wish I had some way to prove it.

  11. I agree with some of the other commenters about maybe seeing if there was someway to report him anonymously, at least someone may look into it, even if it doesn’t lead to anything…at least you will have tried. I do understand your hesitation…that’s really disgusting what he is doing and makes me wonder about so many other doctors doing the same thing. It’s a tough situation so I don’t envy you. Sit on it some more and I’m sure you’ll come to the right decision for you.

    • I do think biding my time will only help my case and help me decide whether to pursue the situation. I am not very patient, and want change, but he’s been doing this for 20 years. I have to be really careful.

  12. When I was a boss, it was simple! I fired them. As a teacher, I see various things I cannot do much about. I make sure I live up to my values with everything I do. Whenever I hear things I encourage the people involved to report it.

    • If I can ever find proof of wrongdoing or anyone willing to verify being double billed for insurance, I will be the first one to report him. As it stands, I know it happens but can’t prove it. Frustrating. My former boss was certainly right about him.

  13. It’s very frustrating how many people take advantage of the government and insurance. You know that all of us honest people will end up paying for it with more taxes and higher insurance premiums. Unfortunately, there is never really much you can do about it – especially if Dr Sleeze has an already established reputable career. You just make sure you do everything the way you know how to and don’t let him influence you!

    • I would not be able to sleep at night if I were working the system. That is a big problem with our country today and I don’t have it in me to ever be that way. The very ironic thing is he is supposed to be very religious, which cracks me up. Wolf in sheep’s clothing for sure.

  14. Yes, unfortunately I have. It was never easy to do as in most instances, they were not bad people, but had made some poor decisions that had serious repercussions. I am sorry that you are in this position. It would bad enough if he was just making a few extra bucks off the system, but the fact he is willing to risk people’s eyes is terribly sad. I agree with some of the commenters suggestions to see if you can complain anonymously.

    • I really hate anonymous because I feel that you should be able to stand behind your complaints, but it is something to consider in this instance.

  15. I’m with Mrs. Pop. If there is a way to call this guy out without getting yourself involved I’d suggest it. It raises medical cost for everyone plus taxes.
    On a side note, I love your accent, because it reminds me of my grandmothers. Huge compliment BTW because it’s soothing.

    • Yes, I’m sure he has cost Medicare and Medicaid lots of money, which funnels back to taxpayers. With the new health care laws, Medicare fraud is going to be investigated much more closely, so I can only hope he gets audited.

  16. Well that certainly has put you in a tough spot because I can sense how much it is bothering you. If no one else is willing to step up it’s you against the truth. If you get some concrete evidence or like someone else says to complain anonymously so higher ups keep an eye on him I don’t know what else to say. It’s wrong for anyone to do shady work like this, very unethical.

    • It feels better just to vent about it. I do believe the current director is retiring in a year of so. Hopefully a new person might bring new attitudes and we can make some changes in how things are done. It would be really easy to set up a contact lens aspect to the clinic. It would not profit anyone, but it would be the right thing to do. I’m sure Dr. Shady would not like it, but honestly, he’s ridden the gravy train for too long.

  17. I am all for anonymously reporting him somehow. It’s people like that who ruin it for the rest of us and get away with it. They hurt us as much as the victim in the form of higher government costs, medicaid and medicare.

  18. I know exactly where you’re coming from. The dental practice I work at sees a LOT of underprivileged people (social service types since in Canada you get some dental coverage through SS). I treat HIV/AIDS patients and very low income families, natives, gravely ill. Unfortunately a lot of these people end up at our office because of refusal of treatment at other practices. Dentistry can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Given the close proximity we are with our patients and degree of bodily fluids there is a very high risk of cross contamination but we’re all educated and taught how to deal with even the ”worst” cases so it saddens me when I have someone tell me they were refused (though they were never directly told they were being refused). Healthcare is tricky.

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