A special investigation by the state auditor’s office has concluded a former surgeon at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics diverted nearly $1.9 million in payments that should have gone to the university.
“Some outside records were not available prior to certain dates, so in our opinion this is a very conservative estimate,” says State Auditor Mary Mosiman. “This is only what we were able to verify.”
Dr. Brian Adams started working at the University of Iowa Hospitals in 1992, but auditors were only able to review patient records dating back to 1999. The state auditor says Adams set up a personal bank account under his name along with “UIHC Orthopedics” — and those initials stand for University of Iowa Health Care.
“Basically Dr. Adams circumvented the contract that he had signed and the procedures that the University of Iowa health care department had in place,” Mosiman says.
The auditor’s investigation found Adams improperly billed insurance companies and law firms for services he performed. He also used the private account to collect royalties and consulting fees.
“They are not allowed to use the university’s name or tax ID when setting up a bank account and Dr. Adams did,” Mosiman says.
It’s unclear why the doctor’s account didn’t come to the attention of university officials sooner.
“One of the things that the university does is they annually verify with the banks any accounts that have the university’s name or tax ID,” Mosiman says. “It’s unclear to me or us in our office why the bank did not disclose to the university that this particular account was in existence since it had the University of Iowa Health Care initials on it.”
Adams had the statements from that account sent to his home address, too, which should have been a red flag to the bank according to Mosiman. In February of 2013, a patient called the hospital to report the suspicious activity. Dr. Adams resigned in August of 2014.
“I don’t know what goes on in the minds of people who do things like this,” Mosiman says, “but this is definitely very bold.”
The audit has been referred to law enforcement.