Hyatt Relinquishes Seat on State Medical Board Over Medicaid Billing Issues

BENTONVILLE–Rogers’ psychiatrist has resigned from the Arkansas Medical Board.

In his May 16 resignation letter, Dr. Brian Hiatt said, “I am not resigning because of my own misconduct, but rather to allow the board to continue its important work without delay or disruption. for the sake of it,” he said. “I will continue to defend myself against the false allegations being made against me where appropriate.”

Hyatt stepped down as chairman of the board in March, but retained his seat on the board.

In the letter, he said the board plays an important role for the public and doctors.

“Due to personal circumstances unrelated to the Board, I believe it is in my, and the Board’s, best interests to tender my resignation at this time,” Hyatt said in his resignation letter. rice field. “I feel that my continued participation in future board meetings could be a distraction from the board’s duties and its primary focus, and I do not believe board matters need the time and attention at this time.” cannot pay for

Hyatt is at the center of investigations by state and federal authorities.

Clay Fawkes, a U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, confirmed Wednesday that Drug Enforcement Administration agents searched Hyatt’s offices in Rogers.

Last month, Attorney General Tim Griffin announced that Northwest Arkansas Hospitals LLC had filed 246 cases based on medical evaluations, diagnoses and supporting documentation authenticated by Hyatt and non-physician health care providers working under his control and supervision. announced that it had agreed to pay the state more than $1 million in connection with Medicaid claims.

The settlement follows an audit by the state contractor, the Arkansas Medical Foundation, which found that the documentation provided in the allegation “does not justify or support the requirements of medical necessity for hospitalization.” It was a full settlement, Griffin said in a news release announcing the settlement.

According to a Feb. 24 letter obtained under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act to the Northwest Arkansas Democratic Gazette, all payments to Hyatt for Medicaid services have been stopped by the Medicaid Inspector General. The firm determined that there was a “credible fraud allegation” against Hyatt.

A Pulaski County Circuit Judge on January 17 issued a search warrant for Hyatt phone records.

According to the warrant affidavit, the attorney general’s office was contacted in April 2022 by a whistleblower from the Behavioral Health Division at Northwest Medical Center Springdale.

Hyatt, who has been the division’s medical director since January 2018, said in an affidavit that his contract with the medical center was “suddenly terminated” in May 2022.

Investigators in the attorney general’s office watched hundreds of hours of surveillance video from the Department of Conduct, but did not see Hyatt enter the patient’s room or have direct contact with the patient, the affidavit said. is stated.

According to the affidavit, “red flags” were identified during the analysis of Hyatt’s Medicaid billing and use of rating and control coding used to bill for medical services.

“Subsequent hospital care” codes such as 99231, 99232 and 99233 are the most commonly billed codes, with progressively higher rates for each code, according to the affidavit. The affidavit states that code 99233 indicates more complicated cases of unstable patients or patients with emerging problems.

According to the affidavit, between January 2019 and June 30, 2022, Hyatt billed more Medicaid patients than any other physician who billed all Medicaid patients with code 99233. .

No criminal charges have been filed against Hyatt.

Then-Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Hyatt to the Medical Commission in January 2019. Hyatt was then elected chairman. His current term as director was until December 31, 2024.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Hyatt in recent months.

In one lawsuit filed in Washington County Circuit Court last month, he and other defendants “broke Northwest Medical Center Springs to fraudulently claim private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or other applicable insurance coverage. Illegally imprisoning patients in Dale’s behavioral health department.” He claimed that care and treatment were not provided. “

Hyatt resignation letter

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