Local doctor faces federal charges

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Vo charged with health care fraud, mail fraud, misbranding and smuggling

The owner of Bluegrass Women’s Healthcare in Elizabethtown could face more than 200 years in prison and a $3 million fine after being charged in a 13-count federal grand jury indictment this week for health care fraud, mail fraud, misbranding and smuggling.

Canh Jeff Vo, 45, of Elizabethtown, was the owner, supervising physician and president of Bluegrass Women’s Healthcare between March 2008 and September 2009 when the alleged violations occurred, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

Vo offered gynecological and obstetric services to women, including providing forms of birth control. According to the federal indictment, Vo, with the intent to defraud or mislead, purchased and inserted into patients foreign, non-FDA approved Mirenas (levonorgesteral-releasing intrauterine device). These Mirena intrauterine devices, or IUDs, were misbranded in that their labeling was not in English and did not bear adequate directions for use.

Vo also is charged with health care fraud for submitting false claims for reimbursement from the Medicaid program. Specifically, Vo is alleged to have billed the Kentucky Medicaid program and other insurers as if he was administering the FDA-approved version of Mirena at a greater cost when he was administering a non-FDA approved version of Mirena, according to the release.

Vo also faces 10 counts of mail fraud for using the U.S. Postal Service to receive payment from the Kentucky Medicaid program and private insurance companies for Mirena IUDs which were not approved for sale in the U.S. The indictment also alleges between March 2008 and September 2009, Vo received, brought and imported Mirena IUDs into the U.S., knowing the devices were misbranded and unlawfully introduced into interstate commerce from various countries, including Canada.

If convicted, Vo faces a maximum of 233 years in prison, a maximum fine of $3,010,000 and up to three years of supervised release.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lettricea Jefferson-Webb, and is being investigated by the FDA office of criminal investigations, the FBI and Kentucky Office of the Attorney General.