PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — An arrest warrant has been filed in Arkansas for a Rogers psychiatrist accused of fraud.
The warrant accused Brian Thomas Hyatt, 51, of two counts of Medicaid fraud.
An affidavit filed in Pulaski County says that on April 1, 2022, the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud Control Unit received a complaint from a confidential informant who worked in the Behavorial Health Unit at the Northwest Medical Center in Springdale.
Hyatt was the director of the unit from February 2018 to May 2022.
The informant advised that Hyatt was only present at the unit a short time on the days that he was scheduled to work and that he spent little to no contact with patients.
The affidavit says that Hyatt spent his time walking up and down the floor while pushing a computer on wheels.
The informant said that Hyatt did not want the patients to know his name and directed staff to mark through his name on patients’ wristbands. The informant also expressed concern regarding the physical abuse of patients, the overuse of physical restraints and the use of chemical restraints when patients were not an imminent danger to themselves or others.
An investigation was led into the allegations made by the informant and other witnesses including patients and employees.
The affidavit says that based on the findings of this investigation, Hyatt committed Medicaid fraud by purposely billing the highest billing procedure codes for patients to whom he did not provide the billed healthcare services.
The affidavit says that during Hyatt’s tenure, the unit grew from 29 beds to 77 beds.
Hyatt’s daily pay for administrative and psychiatric services increased from $1,369.86 to $1,849.32.
Multiple former employees noted that the unit consistently stayed at or near full capacity during Hyatt’s leadership.
Hyatt was listed as the performing provider on 22,475 claims between Jan. 1, 2019, and May 2, 2022. Hyatt’s company, Brian Hyatt MD, LLC, was listed as the billing provider for all Medicaid billings at the unit.
According to the affidavit, Northwest Medical provided investigators with several thousand hours of security footage from March 13, 2022, to May 2, 2022.
It was determined that Hyatt was present at the unit 24 days of the 46-day period that investigators reviewed. Over the 24 days, Hyatt was observed in the unit for a total of 2,671 minutes. Of that time, he spent 1,881 minutes in his office.
“In most cases, Dr. Hyatt appeared to observe the patient for a matter of seconds from the hallway, but in many cases, he just walked by the rooms,” the affidavit said. “Dr. Hyatt was not spending any substantial time with his patients. Unless Dr. Hyatt was able to perform a ‘detailed medical examination’ in under two minutes, not once did he perform an exam during the reviewed timeframe.”
The affidavit notes that after interviewing former patients, “the overwhelming response from the former patients was either that they did not know who Dr. Hyatt was or they recognized him as the man pushing the cart up and down the hallways.”
Patient complaints ranged from lack of care, feeling unheard when they voice complaints, being held against their will, not receiving prescribed medication, receiving an injection of a drug that made them incoherent to feeling like they were kept in the hospital until Medicaid stopped paying.