An Oak Park-based physician will be suspended from practicing after pleading guilty to misdemeanor Medicaid fraud. Dr. Monique Brotman told Wednesday Journal the billing discrepancies were the unfortunate result of administrative error, but she is nevertheless taking accountability.
“I’m still responsible. I should have been more careful,” she said.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul charged that Brotman, who is an OB/GYN physician, billed Medicaid $58,747.57 between December 2008 and February 2015 for ultrasounds and other medical services that were not provided. The River Forest resident pleaded guilty Nov. 29 to a misdemeanor charge of vendor fraud.
During that time, Brotman said she had someone working in the billing department that she “didn’t monitor as closely as [she] should have.” That person reportedly stopped working for Brotman in 2014 – right around the end of the investigation into her practice. She does not believe that person intended to commit any crimes.
“This wasn’t done out of malice. There was no intent,” Brotman said. “Just a lapse of judgment.”
She declined to provide the name of her former biller, but said she shared the biller’s name with the judge and the Illinois Attorney General’s office. Brotman is not currently in contact with her former employee, whom she said has multiple sclerosis.
Brotman said she has since paid the full amount illegally charged to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Office of the Inspector General. Wednesday Journal has reached out to the agency for confirmation.
Due to her conviction, Brotman must get legal permission before traveling. Additionally, Brotman will be unable to bill Medicaid and Medicare for providing medical services to those patients for the next five years.
She has also been ordered to carry out 40 hours of community service. Brotman would like to fulfill her community service hours by working with the Red Cross, where she already volunteers.
If she is allowed to satisfy her community service requirement with the Red Cross, she will have to do so through activities that do not require a medical license. Brotman’s license will be suspended, the length of which will be determined by the state medical board, which will review her case.
Brotman says the ordeal has been incredibly difficult and that she cares deeply about her work and women’s health care.
“I have a passion for what I do and I’m lucky to be able to do it in this community,” said Brotman. “I’ve had the privilege and the honor of being able to take care of the women of the western suburbs, of the tri-state area.”
In addition to running her own practice, Brotman teaches medical students and instructs surgeons in performing surgery using robotic technology.
Brotman also serves as the backup physician, facilitating non-medicated deliveries for four midwifery groups, including Gentle Birth Care, the Burr Ridge Birth Center, the Chicago Birth Center and West Suburban Midwife Associates.
“There won’t be any lapse in services,” she said. “The midwives are completely autonomous and fantastic.”
She said she has already found qualified replacements to take over for her as backup physician. Brotman hopes many of her clients will allow her to transfer them to the midwives. She will transfer her patients with more complicated medical needs to another physician.
“The most upsetting part of all of this is that I won’t be able to take care of them anymore,” she said.
Brotman has not had the opportunity yet to tell her patients of her legal troubles, but she knows it will be “really, really painful.”
“They deserve to know,” she said.