Each time I dare to believe that the financial burdens of stubbornly maintaining my solo practice past a practical time frame are nearing an end, some new & unforeseen load of crap gets dumped on me.
Here is the latest: Many of you may remember the comprehensive cholesterol test I ordered for my patients, which gave a multi-color result report of particle sizes, and which I still believe helped to reduce risk of cardiovascular and other diseases. Well, it transpires that the lab, Health Diagnostics Laboratoty, was knowingly committing Medicare fraud through their billing practices, and all physicians who were paid a processing fee per specimen are guilty of fraud by collaboration. Apparently, physicians who were paid the fee were supposed to know (how?) that the fees exceeded legal limits. Ignorance of the law is no defense, even in a case such as this.
So I have received a summons demanding the repayment of fees paid to Womens Primay Care for the processing & handling of specimens sent to Health Diagnostic Laboratory over a four year period, amounting to nearly $84,000. The accusation is the willful defrauding of the government.
Not only do I not have this kind of money, I have no resources through which to get it. The $50,000 annual salary that I drew from WPC left me no cushion for an event such as this. Additionally, I remain under a tax burden from WPC for which I continue to make
monthly payments, waiting for the end of that debt to be in sight. Our assets are all in this heavily mortgaged farm, for which we had foolishly liquidated our retirement savings to obtain. A retrospectoscope is a valuable instrument, some of you may remember me saying.
In the meantime, Linda and I continue to work toward a self-sustaining existence, tending to our gardens and our animals. But as much as I would like for us to quietly live our low-profile life here in Vermont, it seems fate has other plans for me and so I find myself starting a gofundme campaign for what feels like a bad dream.
I deplore this situation I find myself in, and I apologize for any turmoil of emotions this may cause any one of you. Please know that my pride is currently in the toilet, otherwise you would never have had to know of this.
Please help only to the ability to which your wallet and/or your heart allows. Our personal relationship will remain intact, under no stress of obligation or judgement.
I think of you all often and hold dear the time I have spent with each of you.
Best wishes and cyber hugs,
- Juan Carlos Collada
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