Former 'holistic' doctor gets 51 months for fraud, obstruction - Albuquerque Journal

Former ‘holistic’ doctor gets 51 months for fraud, obstruction

SANTA FE – A former self-described “holistic” cardiologist in Santa Fe was sentenced to more than 4 years in prison Tuesday for health care billing fraud and obstruction of justice.

Roy G. Heilbron also was ordered to pay $623,477 in restitution. He pleaded guilty last year to cheating Medicare and other health care benefit programs by submitting false and inflated claims.

Roy Heilbron

The obstruction count against Heilbron was for faking medical documents about himself, which purported to show a doctor in Costa Rica was to treat him for cancer, in an effort to postpone or avoid his sentencing for fraud. He pleaded guilty to the obstruction count in February.

Chief U.S. District Judge William P. “Chip” Johnson of Albuquerque sentenced Heilbron, 54, to 24 months on a single health care fraud count and 27 months for obstruction. He will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.

A federal grand jury indicted Heilbron in June 2015.

According to the indictment, Heilbron had billed for unnecessary tests on new patients and submitted false diagnoses with billing claims he made to insurers; inserted false symptoms and other bad information into patients’ medical charts to support unneeded tests; double-billed for some procedures; and misused billing codes to increase his rate of reimbursement.

When he pleaded guilty to a single fraud charge in February 2017, he admitted to a scheme at his A Well for Health Church medical clinic in Santa Fe to defraud health benefit programs including Medicare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield New Mexico.

“I believe I was fraudulent in my billing and this is a resolution to what I did,” Heilbron told Judge Johnson then.

He was arrested the following August, while awaiting sentencing, after federal agents determine that he had faked documents that purported to show he had been diagnosed with cancer by another doctor and was scheduled to undergo chemotherapy in Costa Rica. He submitted the fake records to a probation officer in support of a request to postpone his sentencing hearing on the fraud count. He also claimed that a delay in treatment could result in his death.

When he pleaded guilty to obstruction in February, he admitted that when he made the request for a postponement, he was actually on vacation in Europe “with no intention of beginning chemotherapy treatments in Costa Rica,” according to information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque.

The state Medical Board placed Heilbron’s medical license on “inactive” status last year and permanently barred him from reapplying to practice medicine in New Mexico.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Half of city voters favor Keller's job performance
2021 city election
60% approval rating a year ago ... 60% approval rating a year ago likely due to pandemic response
2
Book merchant Jim Hoffsis was a pillar of Old ...
ABQnews Seeker
Korean War veteran was an admirer ... Korean War veteran was an admirer of military, supporter of local authors
3
Gonzales' current job approval stands at 34%
2021 city election
Democratic sheriff has little support from ... Democratic sheriff has little support from members of own party
4
NM film and television community honors Halyna Hutchins
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's film and television community ... New Mexico's film and television community came together to remember cinematographer Halyna Hutchins at a candlelight vigil at Civic Plaza in Albuquerque on Saturday ...
5
Journal Poll: Keller has large lead over mayoral opponents
2021 city election
Gonzales, Aragon lag behind; runoff may ... Gonzales, Aragon lag behind; runoff may not be needed
6
Hours before showtime, Las Cruces High's band truck is ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Las Cruces High School Showcase ... The Las Cruces High School Showcase band's trip to Albuquerque this weekend started on a sour note. Hours before the Zia Marching Band Fiesta ...
7
Don't forget: 10-digit phone dialing to be required in ...
ABQnews Seeker
Starting Sunday, phone users across New ... Starting Sunday, phone users across New Mexico must include area codes when dialing to make all calls, including local calls that previously only required ...
8
States mostly defer to union guidance for on-set gun ...
ABQnews Seeker
Safety standards developed by film studios ... Safety standards developed by film studios and labor unions are the primary protection for actors and film crews when a scene calls for using ...
9
Vigil to be held at Civic Plaza for cinematographer
ABQnews Seeker
The New Mexico community will come ... The New Mexico community will come together to remember filmmaker Halyna Hutchins. The 42-year-old director of photography was killed on the set of 'Rust' ...