A New Orleans psychiatrist and former medical director of the historic Touro Infirmary in New Orleans has been indicted for alleged Medicare and Medicaid billing fraud totaling more than $650,000, according to the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Maria Carmen Palazzo, 53, is accused of fraudulently billing the government for medical visits she made to patients in Touro's partial-hospitalization program during a five-year period ended in March 2005 when the visits actually were made by a physician assistant in her employment, according to the indictment. She also is accused of billing for face-to-face meetings with patients on days when she instead held team medical conferences she knew were not reimbursable. Palazzo allegedly billed Touro for consulting and medical director services she did not perform and is accused of 15 counts of fraud for failing to maintain proper records required by the Food and Drug Administration during her evaluations as an investigator in clinical trials of the drug Paxil. At deadline, Palazzo had not returned calls seeking comment. If convicted, she faces up to 62 years in prison and fines of up to $4.25 million, the U.S. attorney's office said. -- by Joseph Conn
New Orleans doctor indicted for fraud
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