CHATTANOOGA - A federal judge sentenced an orthopedic surgeon to 41 months in prison Monday for allegedly over-billing TennCare and other health insurers more than $3.1 million.
Robert Canon, M.D., who practices in Tullahoma, Tenn., told U.S. District Judge Allan Edgar that although mistakes were made in his office, he never intended to defraud the government.
Canon's attorney, Bill Ramsey of Nashville, said the conviction and sentence would be appealed.
A jury in September convicted Canon, 59, on 50 counts of healthcare fraud and 45 counts of healthcare false statements.
Ramsey said the case stemmed from Canon's performing nerve blocks the '"old-fashioned way . . . using an anatomical method of picking the spot'" instead of using ultrasound.
The indictment accused Canon of submitting claims for nerve blocks when he actually performed trigger-point injections, which receive lower reimbursement.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cynthia Davidson and Greg Weddle told the judge at the sentencing that Canon knew he was overbilling for medical services. Prosecutors said the scheme netted more than $3.1 million for his Canon Orthopedic Clinic between October 1997 and January 2002.
Edgar ordered Canon to pay restitution totaling $800,000 and to serve three years of supervised probation after his release. Edgar allowed the doctor to remain free on bail until March 29, when the judge said a decision would be made about his status while he appeals.
Prosecutors said TennCare, Medicare, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee private insurance, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employee Program and the United States Tennessee Valley Authority Office of Workers' Compensation had been overbilled.