A respectable-looking and experienced doctor is the last person you’d probably think of to be involved in fraud and that may be the reason why thousands of patients trusted Dr. Thomas Joseph Barnard with their health.
Dr. Barnard’s practice in Ontario has some limitations. He’s not to practise family medicine as well as prescribe narcotic drugs. His office is only supposed to provide cosmetic and aesthetic services plus nutritional counselling but he’s been found to do more than what he is legally allowed to.
Ghosts from the Past
The Star did some digging and found out that there are 8 sanctions in California, Michigan, and Ontario for Dr. Barnard. The sanctions go back more than 10 years and are for offences such as signs of incompetence, improper prescribing, and failing to disclose (of a pending license application). One fraud in Ontario remained hidden to the CPSO (the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario) for almost a year; it was a fraud under the Health Insurance Act.
All of the above are quite shocking and difficult to believe because Barnard is one of the most disciplined physicians in the Star’s list which was a result of an analysis of 159 cross-border doctors who have sanctions in their records. Barnard still holds licenses in Michigan and Ontario as a family physician.
Another alarming detail is that none of Dr. Barnard’s profiles list the information that the Star was able to uncover. This shows that there are weaknesses in the North American regulatory system that allow certain individuals with sanctions to practice as professionals elsewhere where no one knows their history. Dr. Barnard had made it clear that he wishes not to share his thoughts regarding what the Star published.
Dr. Barnard has been licensed in Ontario since 1980 but his first appearance before the college’s disciplinary committee didn’t occur until the 28th of November 2006 after he was investigated for allegedly charging patients for uninsured services and giving some of them gold member cards that made them believe they were receiving some special service. Barnard didn’t dispute these allegations and he was fined $2,500 plus suspended for 2 months as a result.
Prior to the above hearing, he applied for a License in Michigan and was approved because he did not have any record at the time of his application (which was 6 days prior to his hearing). He was able to practice in Michigan for a decade without being found out. He was only found out in Michigan in 2014 when his 2006 Ontario suspension came to light following an investigation for a separate case.
More charges followed the Ontario one, with fraudulent OHIP billings charged in 2010, new offences in 2012, and more similar acts uncovered and investigated in the next 5 years.
Barnard has a roster of more than 25,000 patients over the years and has records of malpractice in both the U.S. and Canada. Part of the reason why these things are only coming to light these days is because records of disciplinary actions and malpractice payments are not available to the public.
Medical fraud and doctors involved in fraud are not ‘new’ these days. If you or someone you care about has been a target for fraud, feel free to contact us to avail of our private investigation services.