Sentencing Implications for Health Care Practitioners
The Sentencing Guidelines establish standards for three aspects of sentencing: (1) they set base sentences for each type of crime charged; (2) they establish how sentences will be combined when the defendant is guilty of more than one crime; and (3) they establish how the specific facts in a given case affect the sentence. The result of these guidelines has been to dramatically change the sentencing prospects for medical care providers, especially physicians and hospitals. The first change was to increase the sentences for white-collar crimes and require that nearly every defendant who is convicted of a white- collar crime goes to jail for some period of time. A medical care practitioner convicted of medical care fraud or antitrust violations now can expect to spend time in jail, which, in most states, ensure that the practitioner will lose his or her license and not be able to practice when the sentence has been served.
The sentencing guidelines also contain a provision that requires the sentence to be increased whenever the crime involves abuse of a professional relationship.