Highland Park Doctor Sentenced in Forest Park Medical Center Case

A Highland Park anesthesiologist was sentenced Monday for his part in the $200 million Forest Park Medical Center fraud case, federal prosecutors said.

Richard Ferdinand Toussaint Jr., 61, was ordered to pay more than $82.9 million in restitution and was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox said.

Touissant is already serving a 41-month federal prison sentence for a separate health care fraud conviction. In March 2018, he pleaded guilty to his involvement in the Forest Park Medical case, admitting to one count of conspiracy to pay health care bribes and kickbacks and one count of illegal remuneration under the Travel Act.  

The 66-month sentence will be served concurrent to the 41-month sentence.

Toussaint admitted to collaborating with co-defendant Dr. Wade Neal Barker, a bariatric surgeon, to launch Forest Park Medical Center, a physician-owned hospital for bariatric and spinal surgery patients, in 2008, and then working with hospital manager Alan Andrew Beauchamp, Barker, and others to lure patients with high-reimbursing, out-of-network private insurance to the now-defunct hospital by paying surgeons for referrals.

Last year, Medical City opened a new heart and spine hospital in the previously dormant location.  

Prosecutors said that most of the $40 million in kickbacks were euphemistically called consulting fees or “marketing money,” and was disbursed as a percentage of surgeries each doctor referred to the hospital. An email trail corroborated this, as did Toussaint.

“Instead of billing patients for out-of-network co-payments, instituted by insurers to de-incentivize the high costs associated with out-of-network treatment, Forest Park allegedly waived co-insurance, assured patients they would pay in-network prices,” federal officials said. “Because they knew insurers wouldn’t tolerate such practices, they concealed the patient discounts and wrote off the difference as uncollected “bad debt.”

Dr. Toussaint was one of 18 convicted. Barker, Beauchamp, Kelly Wade Loter, David Daesung Kim, Israel Ortiz, Andrea Kay Smith, Frank Gonzales, Jr., Andrew Jonathan Hillman, and Semyon Narosov pleaded guilty before trial.

Wilton McPherson “Mac” Burt, Jackson Jacob, Douglas Sung Won, Michael Bassem Rimlawi, Shawn Mark Henry, Mrugeshkumar Shah, and Iris Kathleen Forrest were convicted after their trials.

To read more about the case, click here, and read Matt Goodman’s 2017 summary of Toussaint’s admissions at our sister publication, D Magazine.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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