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State: Disgraced Niskayuna surgeon indicted in multi-million dollar health insurance scheme

State: Disgraced Niskayuna surgeon indicted in multi-million dollar health insurance scheme

State: Disgraced Niskayuna surgeon indicted in multi-million dollar health insurance scheme
Photographer: Shutterstock

SCHENECTADY -- A disgraced surgeon from Niskayuna has been indicted in a scheme to bilk the state employees' health insurance program through illegally operating a medical supply company, the state Inspector General's Office said.

He is accused of doing so by forging prescriptions and insurance claims at a business he shouldn't have been licensed to conduct as he had previously lost his license to practice medicine, the Inspector General's Office said.

Steven A. St. Lucia, 62, was indicted on one count of first-degree grand larceny and 17 counts of second-degree health-care fraud, along with other charges, the Inspector General's Office said.

St. Lucia was originally arrested in December. Charges also filed directly against the company remain pending, officials said

St. Lucia previously lost his medical license and then lied about the revocation in order to operate Union Foot Solutions, also known as Union Orthotics and Pedorthics, officials said. The business operated out of offices on Eastern Parkway, officials said.

St. Lucia is accused of forging prescriptions, falsifying insurance claims and issuing inappropriate charges for orthotics and compression stockings to obtain more than $4 million over the course of at least five years, officials said.

“This individual layered lies upon lies and frauds on top of other frauds to steal millions of dollars from the Empire Plan," Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro said in a news release. “With a history of severely abusing the trust we place in reputable healthcare providers, his continued behavior shows a callous disregard for others. I thank our partners in law enforcement who collaborated to help bring this individual to justice."

St. Lucia is accused of concealing that he was prohibited from billing any federal health plans, listing family members as straw owners of the company, using prescriptions with photocopied signatures and of setting up promotional booths at state facilities to solicit employees with the promise of free compression stockings and custom-fit orthotics at no out-of-pocket expense, officials said.

St. Lucia lost his license to practice medicine in early 2000, as he faced charges of gross incompetence, negligence and inappropriate sexual relations with three of his surgical patients, according to the release.

The state Department of Health’s Board of Professional Medical Conduct, at the time, found St. Lucia to be a “danger to the community,” and determined that, through his conduct, he “has shown himself to be morally bankrupt and wanting in fundamental clinical skills.” 

His application to have his license reinstated was denied in 2008.

After losing his license to practice medicine, St. Lucia was placed on a list of individuals and entities prohibited from billing Medicare and Medicaid or any other federal health care program, a fact he and his company concealed as they submitted bills to the Empire Plan, according to the allegations.

In addition to the other charges in the new indictment, St. Lucia faces two counts of second-degree grand larceny, one count of first-degree scheme to defraud and five counts of first-degree falsifying business records. 

St. Lucia was arraigned and released to return to court later.

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