Dr. Ron Elfenbein, a prominent Maryland doctor, had his conviction for submitting $15 million in fraudulent COVID-19 tests overturned by a federal judge. James K. Bredar, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for Maryland, stated that the government did not present enough evidence to convict Elfenbein, who was accused of “upcoding” tests and billing Medicare for reimbursement he wasn’t due. Elfenbein’s attorney, Martin S. Himeles Jr., expects Elfenbein to seek to have his medical license fully restored and return to emergency medicine.
A Maryland Doctor’s Conviction Overturned on COVID-19 Fraudulent Claims
In an unprecedented move, a federal judge has overturned a conviction against a prominent Maryland doctor accused of filing fraudulent insurance claims worth millions of dollars for COVID-19 tests.
Insufficient Evidence Against Dr. Ron Elfenbein
Chief Judge James K. Bredar of the U.S. District Court for Maryland ruled that the government did not provide enough evidence to convict Dr. Ron Elfenbein, a leading doctor in the Arnold emergency room. Elfenbein was accused of submitting $15 million in fraudulent tests at the urgent care centers he ran.
The doctor was among several individuals charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for fraud during the pandemic. However, he was the first to face a conviction for testing-related deceit at trial.
Elfenbein’s Medical Practice Post Conviction
Elfenbein has not practiced in any emergency department since he faced five counts of health care fraud last year for tests conducted through his company, Drs ERgent Care. His company operated the First Call Medical Center and Chesapeake ERgent Care in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties.
Elfenbein also received a temporary contract to manage an urgent care center offering testing at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. He was presented with a citation by then-Gov. Larry Hogan for his services. The Maryland Board of Physicians still lists his medical license as active, despite his conviction leading to his removal from the Maryland Medicaid Program.
Future Implications for Elfenbein and Others
A new trial will not be initiated automatically. The government would have to file an appeal and request a new trial. This case sends a strong message to the leaders of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department’s Criminal Division about the need for skepticism when prosecuting individuals for alleged violations of unclear federal regulations, according to former U.S. attorney Rod Rosenstein.
The U.S. attorney’s office has not provided any comments. Elfenbein’s attorney expects him to seek full restoration of his medical license and return to emergency medicine.