Tag Archives: Chicago

Medicare fraud and kickbacks: Chicago psychologist loses his medical license indefinitely

Dr. Reinstein prescribed an alarming amount of clozapine to Illinois patients for kickbacks.

Dr. Reinstein prescribed an alarming amount of clozapine to Illinois patients for kickbacks.

Chicago area psychologist, Michael Reinstein, recently lost his medical license following the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“IDFPR”) suspended his license for a minimum of  three years before Reinstein would be allowed to apply for reinstatement. When complaints of professional misconduct come to the attention of IDFPR, the licensing authority for many Illinois professionals, the IDFPR may cooperate with other state agencies to prevent further harm to Illinois residents. In this case, there was a determination that the doctor received, “Illegal direct and indirect remuneration” from the maker of generic clozapine. Further, reports indicate he did not consider alternative treatments and disregarded their well-being in the name of profit, according to a recent news report.[i]

Generally, the generic drug clozapine is used in the management of antipsychotic disorders, like schizophrenia, when nothing else works. According to a reputable website on pharmaceuticals, this because the drug carries a “concern for the side effect of agranulocytosis [reduction in white blood cell count], clozapine should be reserved for patients who have failed to respond to other standard medications or who are at risk for recurring suicidal behavior.[ii]

The Chicago Tribune published a 2009 story about Dr. Reinstein, highlighting the alarming amount of the antipsychotic clozapine prescribed to his patients. In 2007, he prescribed more clozapine to Illinois Medicaid program patients than, “all doctors in the Medicaid programs of Texas, Florida and North Carolina combined.[iii]

Dr. Reinstein was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice who accused him of fraud. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois stated in a press release that the doctor, “received illegal kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies and submitted at least 140,000 false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for antipsychotic medications he prescribed for thousands of mentally ill patients in area nursing homes.[iv]

Medicare fraud is prosecuted under the False Claims Act.

The lawsuit against Dr. Reinstein, the largest civil case alleging prescription medication fraud, is the largest ever brought in Chicago against an individual. The U.S. Attorney’s press release reports that the doctor kept an office in the Uptown neighborhood on Chicago’s north side, where there is a large population of mentally ill nursing home residents. The predatory nature of prescribing strong medications that people might not need, especially when they might lack the capacity to understand and get a second opinion, is in part what is so shocking to people who find out such bad acts were happening so close to home.

The False Claims Act helps expose and prosecute those who make bogus claims for payment through government programs. To encourage people to speak up when they see something wrong, the whistleblowers are rewarded in a percentage of the amount recovered in a successful lawsuit. To learn more about whistleblower protection and the False Claims Act, under which Dr. Reinstein is held accountable, read our article, False Claims Act lawsuits and the whistleblowers who share in recoveries.

The IDFPR, in efforts to protect Illinois residents from wrongdoing professionals, takes action in an effort to protect people against future harms by the individual. You can review the August 8, 2014, IDFPR Order, finding and recommending that Dr. Reinstein’s Physician and Surgeon License be indefinitely suspended for a minimum period of three years. The doctor may wish to apply for reinstatement, but under other recent news we will share in a follow-up article, it is becoming harder to get a professional license reinstated after this type of discipline by the IDFPR.

If you believe you are aware of Medicaid and Medicare fraud, Attorney Michael V. Favia can help.

Michael V. Favia is a health law and litigation attorney whose practice includes IDFPR litigation. Favia is experienced in complex litigation involving government contract and similar types of fraud. Favia’s extensive health care law and litigation career allows him and a skilled group of associate colleagues the benefit of experience in representing clients with qui tam claims for violations of the False Claim Act. Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to help and meet for client consultations with offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburbs so you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.

[i] ProPublica, Illinois Suspends Medical License of Leading Prescriber of Antipsychotic Drugs, by Charles Ornstein, Aug. 11, 2014.

[ii] MedicineNet website, clozapine.

[iii] ProPublica, In Chicago’s Nursing Homes, a Psychiatrist Delivers High-Risk Meds, Cut-Rate Care, by Christina Jewett, ProPublica, and Sam Roe, Chicago Tribune, Nov. 10, 2009.

[iv] U.S. Department of Justice, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Chicago Psychiatrist Allegedly Submitted At Least 190,000 False Claims to Medicare and Medicaid; Lawsuit Alleges Kickbacks to Prescribe Antipsychotic Medication for Nursing Home Patients, Nov. 15, 2012.

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Press Release: Favia recognized in Leading Health Lawyers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 MICHAEL V. FAVIA SELECTED FOR “LEADING HEALTH LAWYERS”

Health And Injury Law And Litigation Attorney, Michael V. Favia Recognized By Chicago Lawyer Magazine In “Leading Health Lawyers”

CHICAGO – The list of Chicago’s “Leading Health Lawyers” published in the September 2013 Chicago Lawyer magazine recognizes Michael V. Favia, selected for the honor and designation appearing among “Leading Health Lawyers” in Chicago.

Commenting on the recognition, Favia stated, “Obviously, I am very honored to be recognized as a Leading Lawyer by my peers in the legal community.  I really do try being a role model in the way I practice. I work hard and assist my clients to achieve a desired result while remaining professional in every respect with my clients, opponents and assigned jurists.”

Favia is a member of the selective Leading Lawyer Network. He consistently earns an “AV” Preeminent Rating (highest possible for both legal ability and ethics) from the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell National Lawyer Rating Peer Review Board.

Favia is the principal and managing attorney at the Chicago area law firm of Michael V. Favia & Associates, representing individuals, professionals, small and large corporations, and professional groups and organizations.

Favia has more than 25 years of experience in health law and litigation and works in conjunction with a team of litigators, experts and investigators to advise and represent clients. He is experienced working on both sides of professional licensing matters, the prosecution and defense. He is a former Assistant Illinois Attorney General and Chief Prosecutor for the Illinois Dept. of Professional Regulation (“IDPR”), now known as the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (“IDFPR”).

Favia also owns a professional licensing consulting company where he and affiliated former prosecutors, investigators and professional licensing board members assist licensed professionals in their business, regulatory and IDFPR related matters.

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If you would like more information about Michael V. Favia & Associates, or to schedule an interview of Michael V. Favia, please contact the firm by calling (773) 631-4580 or send an email to favia@lawyer.com.

Chicago Justinian Society of Lawyers honors past presidents including Michael V. Favia

2013 Past Presidents Dinner at Quartinos

2013 Past Presidents Dinner at Quartinos

Members of The Justinian Society of Lawyers recently celebrated their past presidents at a recent dinner in Chicago on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Hardworking past presidents are recognized at the annual dinner in thanks for their commitment to mission, fostering the spirit of friendship, improving the legal education of members, rendering mutual aid to members, promoting the general welfare of members and participating in civic and community affairs, so as to ensure the proper administration of justice. With fundraising, scholarship and mentor programs, today’s Justinians are busy preserving and furthering their long-standing of excellence in the Chicago legal community.

While current members have law school loans, some of the founding members owed families for their emigration to the U.S. to seek new opportunities and careers in law.

The Justinian Society of Lawyers, originally named the Justinian Society of Advocates, was formed in October 17, 1921 and officially chartered four days later. “It was a crisp autumn afternoon, over three quarters of a century ago, when all but 10 of the approximately 40 Chicago lawyers of Italian descent, who, bound by professional and ethnic ties and conscious of their heritage…[i]” met and elected to form the group. Many of the original members of the group were from immigrant families from Italy and they worked hard to support families who sacrificed for their opportunity to become lawyers in the U.S. Some of the founding Justinians were military and political leaders and the group collectively represented a compelling mix of talent and leadership.

Today there are approximately 1,500 Justinians and the list of impressive accolades among members are too numerous to mention in this short article. To qualify for membership, a candidate must be a practicing or retired lawyer or judge, or a currently enrolled law student. At monthly meetings, the Justinians conduct business matters including planning for scholarships and awards. There is also a mentor program through which members may further the Justinians’ mission to benefit the legal community by working directly with newly licensed Illinois attorneys. Both mentors and mentees receive six Professional Responsibility CLE credits upon successful completion of the program[ii].

Justinians are very dedicated to community and work hard to raise money and awareness.

Annual scholarships are available for law students attending area schools, of Italian ancestry and are scholars in need. The Justinians also maintain the Children’s Endowment Fund (“JCEF”), established in 2002 to be charitable and benevolent. “The mission of the JCEF is to assist and aid disadvantaged or disabled children without regard to ethnicity, race or religion.[iii]” Every year the Justinians hold a golf outing to raise money for the JCEF.

Justinian presidents set and implement term goals to improve communication among members and law schools. While holding office, presidents oversee several committees and increase participation among all members. Past president, Michael V. Favia was among those honored among fellow past presidents of the Justinian Society of Lawyers including several past Chicago Bar Association and Illinois State Bar Association presidents, State Court Judges and Appellate Court Justices.

Michael V. Favia, past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers, practices healthcare and injury law and litigation in Chicago. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.FaviaLawFirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.

The Trust: program focused on brain health and the well-being of retired NFL players

“The Trust” is a new program for retired NFL players with brain health issues. With so much attention focused on lawsuits and policy change for young athletes we do not hear as much about the health of athletes suffering from long-term brain injuries. When the stories of the suffering are told, too often it is in the context of a sad case of suicide. This is a new program developed by the Cleveland Clinic and the National Football League Players Association featured in a video describing the program and its goal of early detection of potential physical, neurological or cognitive problems.

In a recent interview, Jay Alberts, Ph.D., director of the Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center stated, “Athletic injuries and sports-related brain trauma have become part of the public consciousness and are being viewed as legitimate public health problems.[i]” Alberts further stated, “Former NFL players, in particular, are at increased risk for neurological disease. The goal of this program is to identify potential problems – physical, neurological or cognitive – earlier, which may lead to earlier interventions and treatments.”

NFL players get used to VIP treatment during their careers. The Trust treats them in retirement.

Spice Adams, S.F. 49ers (2003-2007), Chicago Bears (2007-2011); Hunter Hillenmeyer, Chicago Bears (2003-2011); Chester Pitts, Houston Texans (2002-2009), Seattle Seahawks (2010)

Spice Adams, S.F. 49ers (2003-2007), Chicago Bears (2007-2011); Hunter Hillenmeyer, Chicago Bears (2003-2011); Chester Pitts, Houston Texans (2002-2009), Seattle Seahawks (2010)

In the video introducing The Trust, former Chicago Bear, Hunter Hillenmeyer, says it best, “Overnight, you go from coaches and trainers – everything mapped out for you – to a world that sometimes feels like there’s no structure and no clear purpose.” Players making the transition from active NFL careers to retired life need to adjust to life after professional football. First, The Trust offers career counseling by professionals who understand the unique background and position of a recently retired NFL player with unique talents, passions and abilities; The Trust facilitators will even help members prepare for interviews. Next, training and nutrition assessments and plans help members maintain their health and body with a workout regiment tailored to the individual. Then, brain and body treatment and travel to the top physicians and medical facilities are set up through The Trust concierge services to keep members attending to cognitive and physical health.

The website, PlayersTrust.com, where you can learn more about The Trust, offers recent news in addition to sections of the site as resources for retired NFL players, namely Expert Health, Career Counseling, Healthy Living and Business Knowledge. Within the Expert Health section there is a link to Brain and Body describing the benefits provided by partnering medical centers including: initial screening; musculoskeletal/rehabilitation evaluation; cognitive and neuropsychological evaluation; transition counseling and subspecialty referral facilitation in patients’ local areas.

Specialized centers with multidisciplinary care can greatly enhance retired players with brain injuries.

The Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center, one of the provider partners of The Trust, offers concussion evaluations and management through a collaborative team effort made up of Primary Care Sports Medicine physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, certified athletic trainers, vestibular therapists, radiologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, and researchers, all dedicated to patient recovery[ii].

In Chicago, the Chicago Concussion Coalition of the Sports Legacy Institute, represents a network of 50 national athletic, health and social service organizations united under a common mission to work in partnership with coalition members to provide student athletes in greater Chicago with the best resources available to protect them from sports related concussions and recurring injuries.

Michael V. Favia is an advisory counsel member of the Chicago Concussion Coalition and Michael V. Favia & Associates represent clients with sports injuries. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a meeting with an attorney at your convenience. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, please visit the firm’s website and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[i] WKYC.com Cleveland. Cleveland Clinic Joins NFLPA in Player Health Initiative. By Staff, Nov. 13, 2013.

[ii] Cleveland Clinic website. Concussion Center page.

Sports injury puts high school football player in a coma

Not knowing if and when your son is going to return to a normal life must be the one of the toughest things a parent can withstand. Parents of Drew Williams, the collapsed Lane Tech High School football player faced such a grave accident last week. People at the scene reported it looked like Williams suffered from a seizure.

Football player in coma after collapsing at game.

"No one could have told me someone could end up in this condition from a high school football game," said Drew's older sister Andrea Williams from the hospital, where relatives from across the country gathered."

“No one could have told me someone could end up in this condition from a high school football game,” said Drew’s older sister Andrea Williams from the hospital, where relatives from across the country gathered.”

The school posted a notice on the Principal’s Page Update section of its website: “On Friday, October 4, Drew Williams, senior football and baseball player, suffered head trauma during the football game. News accounts and other reports indicate he underwent surgery and remains hospitalized in critical condition.[i]” In addition to its statement, the school’s principal shared a link to another site where friends and families could make a donation to benefit the family of the injured student player[ii]. As of the writing of this article, the site raised over $43,000 to help the Williams family pay medical bills.

Commenting in the Chicago Tribune article published on the Williams story, Fred Mueller, former director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, addressed the decrease in the number of deaths from traumatic brain injuries have decreased over time with new technologies, medical care and safer rules. Having said that, however, Muller added, “that major brain injuries have spied in recent years, reaching a high of 16 in 2011 before dropping to five last year. He said that is a reflection of the difficulty of getting rid of helmet-to-helmet contact.[iii]

Williams’ sister: “”No one could have told me someone could end up in this condition from a high school football game,” said Drew’s older sister Andrea Williams from the hospital, where relatives from across the country gathered.”

Commenters on the Tribune article generally wished Williams and his family well and for a speedy recovery. A few people noted the assumption of risk in contact sports and offered additional sources of head injury on and off the playing field.

When instances such as this injury occur, many schools face parental and community concern and requests for stronger policies to more aggressively respond to urgent treatment incidents. For example, some people have suggested school-sponsored sporting event rules should increase the presence of physicians in addition to existing sports staff, if that is not already the policy.

How safe do you believe contact sports can be in our schools? How can we better educate players and coaches, or are we doing all we can? It is in response to unfortunate events when we, as communities, work together to bring change for the best interests of our youth.

Michael V. Favia’s practice includes personal injury cases and Favia offered this comment on the Williams injury: “This was a very unfortunate event, which will affect this young athlete as well as his family for a long time. As a member of the Chicago Concussion Coalition and local counsel to the Sports Legacy Institute it is one of my missions as an attorney and supporter of safe sports to educate young athletes, their families and coaches, etc. in an effort to help prevent future events like this in the future. While many of these types of accidents are inevitable, many can and should be prevented and that’s where the laws and sometimes lawsuits are needed to prevent unsafe avoidable sports injuries.”

Michael V. Favia & Associates represent clients with sports injuries. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a meeting with an attorney at your convenience. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, please visit the firm’s website and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[i] Lane Tech High School: Lane Tech Athletics, Oct. 11 Principals Page Update. By Christopher A. Dignam, Ed.D., Principal.

[ii] Donations Website: Drew Williams Recovery Fund.

[iii] Chicago Tribune: Football player in coma after collapsing at game. By Annie Sweeny and John Keilman, Oct. 10, 2013.

Local sports heroes attend Chicago event to support concussion awareness, education and policy

Former Chicago Bear, Gary Fencik is on the advisory board and event committee for an Oct. 7 event sponsored by the Sports Legacy Institute to benefit the Chicago Concussion Coalition.

Former Chicago Bear, Gary Fencik is on the advisory board and event committee for an Oct. 7 event sponsored by the Sports Legacy Institute to benefit the Chicago Concussion Coalition.

On Monday, October 7, 2013, The Sports Legacy Institute, in conjunction with the Chicago Concussion Coalition, held their annual fall reception to benefit the Chicago Concussion Coalition’s efforts in educating, training and providing valuable resources to help protect student athletes and others from, and to reduce the number of permanent injuries caused by concussions and other various forms of head trauma.

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune, spotlighting the fall reception, focused on former Chicago Bears safety, Gary Fenick, a Chicago Concussion Coalition advisory board and event committee member, who was quoted as saying, “When I go to (Bears) alumni weekend games, no one is talking about their artificial knees or shoulders. They’re asking, ‘How many concussions did you have? Do you have any symptoms?’[i]” The article talks about Fencik’s children both suffering from concussions in high school and his time on the field with Dave Duerson, whose 2011 suicide may have been triggered by the posthumously discovered, “…chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease brought on by multiple concussions,” as reported by the Tribune article.

Professional athletes who encourage dialogue and discussion about traumatic brain injury help more players, parents and coaches spend time working on concussion prevention and education.

Professional athletes are celebrated heroes in American culture and being a tough player is often seen as an honorable trait. Encouraging tough sports icons to talk about injuries is challenging and organizations such as The Sports Legacy Institute and the Chicago Concussion Coalition increase awareness about injuries, that helps coaches, athletes, and parents engage in dialogue about sports safety because it appears more appropriate and popular to do so. Supporting the PR push for concussion education are sports celebrities who dedicate their time to such an important discussion topic, traumatic brain injury, and several local of those celebrities attended Monday night’s reception.

Members of the Chicago Concussion Coalition/Sports Legacy Institute with Chicago Bulls Bob Love at tonight's reception honoring families of those individuals who have sustained permanent brain injuries and/or who have facilitated the donation of injured brains to the Sports Legacy Institute's Brain Bank.

Members of the Chicago Concussion Coalition/Sports Legacy Institute with Chicago Bulls Bob Love at the 10/07/2013 Fall reception, honoring families of those individuals who have sustained permanent brain injuries and/or who have facilitated the donation of injured brains to the Sports Legacy Institute’s Brain Bank.

“As an active advisory board member and local counsel to the group, it was my pleasure to be involved in this most successful evening. The event was very well attended and featured numerous current and retired professional athletes including retired legends, Chicago Bulls, Bob Love and Chicago Bears, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Charlie Brown, Michael Jennings and others.” Attorney Michael V. Favia.

Monies collected from event participants supports research and education on concussion prevention and treatment.

The proceeds collected from this event support continued education and research necessary to protect athletes, the most vulnerable in our society, with respect to concussions. Net benefits of this event also include increased awareness of the education, research and policy objectives of the Chicago Concussion Coalition and The Sports Legacy Institute, among attendees.

Helping promote the event in advance and increasing awareness, Michael Favia, along with Chicago Concussion Coalition’s Caitlin McElroy, participated in an Internet radio interview in which they talked about the group’s mission, objectives and opportunities to increase awareness, and you can click/tap here to listen to the interview.

Michael V. Favia & Associates represent clients with sports injuries. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a meeting with an attorney at your convenience. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, please visit the firm’s website and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[i] Chicago Tribune: Gary Fencik ready to tackle concussion issue. By William Hageman, September 29, 2013.

Complex healthcare: Several factors contribute to medical mistakes and deaths

"Now comes a study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death, the study says."

“Now comes a study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death, the study says.”

The recent political news and filibuster activity regarding defunding the Affordable Care Act could trigger a government shutdown. Imagine you or your loved one is a patient at a VA hospital when that happens! A friend once told a story about losing her grandfather during the U.S. Government shutdown in 1995 and 1996 when, for 28 days, non-essential services were suspended[i]. The friend who lost her grandfather suggested that medical staff shortages were to blame for her grandfather going in, for a routine checkup, and never leaving the VA hospital in Hines, Illinois. We don’t really know what happened in that instance, but staff shortages and the business of healthcare can certainly contribute to medical mistakes leading to unfortunate conditions up to and including death.

Medical mistakes reported in a recent article on a public interest journalism site, suggests deaths caused by medical mistakes, total at least 210,000 per year.[ii] The article references a 1999 report published by the Institute of Medicine[iii] called the “To Err Is Human” report, “which dropped a bombshell on the medical community by reporting that up to 98,000 people a year die because of medical mistakes in hospitals.” This September a more recent study in the Journal of Patient Safety[iv], published by The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc., reported that the current numbers of patient harms and deaths is much higher than the above-referenced 1999 report.

“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”— Sophocles, Antigone”

The abstract and article by Dr. James reports that the amount of medical research could “overwhelm the individual physician trying to optimize the care of his patients.” Why? You can imagine the amount of information and continuing education our doctors are expected to process is more than what most people could handle. Combine that with the “lack of a well-integrated and comprehensive continuing education system in the health professions,” and you have the recipe for human error. Continuing education is not the only shortcoming in healthcare systems. Administrative issues also contribute to medical mistakes.

Dr. James’ article addresses increasing strains on healthcare administrations, and notes, “At the system level, hospitals struggle with staffing issues, making suitable technology available for patient care, and executing effective handoffs between shifts and also between inpatient and outpatient care.” Imagine not being able to effectively perform your job because your hands are tied by red tape. Do you know anyone who works in the healthcare system? Ask them if they feel like they are doing their job while trying not to become entangled in puppet strings.

Does medical negligence/malpractice become more complicated by the suggestions in Dr. James report? Possibly, but that is why good lawyers keep up to date with research and findings.

One focus of Michael V. Favia’s law practice is health law which includes medical negligence/malpractice. He stays current on news and events involving healthcare and is a member of a few boards of advisors/directors including the Chicago Concussion Coalition (Sports Legacy Institute) and HealthLeaders (National Center for Healthcare Leadership). If you are interested in learning more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, serving Chicago and its suburban communities, please visit the Favia Law Firm website for resources and articles of interest. To contact the firm to speak to a lawyer about a healthcare-related concern, you may dial (773) 631-4580. For more information about the firm’s practice areas, you can also visit the firm’s Facebook and Twitter sites. Please “LIke” and “Follow” respectively to keep in touch!


[ii]Pro Publica: How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals? By Marshall Allen, Sep. 19, 2013.

[iv] Journal of Patient Safety: A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care. By James, John T. PhD, September 2013 – Volume 9 – Issue 3 – p 122-128