A prosecutor moved to dismiss all charges Monday against a Newport Beach doctor who had been accused of performing unnecessary surgery as part of an insurance fraud scheme.
The dismissal came the same day Jay Calvert was scheduled to be arraigned on three felony charges: preparing a false claim, making a false claim and perjury.
“There was no evidence to support any prosecution against Dr. Calvert,” said his lawyer, Arthur Barens.
Deputy District Attorney Shaddi Kamiabipour said she dropped the case because Calvert agreed to pay an undisclosed amount of restitution to patients. He also agreed to change some of his practices to ensure patients consent to all procedures and know what Calvert is billing, the prosecutor said.
“We’re not dealing with a situation of me dismissing the case because he’s innocent,” Kamiabipour said. “The reason it was done is it appeared to be a reasonably isolated situation, and he agreed to make corrections. And he is not necessarily a bad surgeon.”
She said patients supported her decision to drop charges.
Barens said he was relieved but still didn’t understand why the charges were filed in the first place.
“That’s one of those things I don’t think I’ll ever know,” he said. “I find it amazing, to be candid with you.”
Kamiabipour said she would not discuss some details to protect patients’ privacy. But she said evidence showed Calvert performed cosmetic plastic surgeries that were not covered by insurance, but also performed additional procedures to which patients had not fully consented.
He did so, Kamiabipour said, so he could bill both the insurance companies and the patients.
At the time Calvert was charged in November, another lawyer representing him, Pat Caiazza, said all the procedures he performed were medically necessary.
Though the District Attorney’s Office said there were problems with multiple patients, it only filed charges involving one. That man went to Calvert’s office in 2009 for a rhinoplasty, but Calvert performed additional procedures, the District Attorney’s Office said last year.
Calvert then manufactured documents to submit with the claim, overbilling the man’s insurance company by more than $40,000, prosecutors said.
The perjury count charged him with lying under oath in 2010 as part of a lawsuit brought by the same former patient.
Barens said the state Medical Board dismissed the complaint that led to the criminal charges. A check of Medical Board records shows Calvert has never faced any disciplinary action.
Calvert paid a “token” amount to settle the former patient’s lawsuit after at least five experts found his actions proper, Caiazza said.
Kamiabipour said the charges fell into a “gray area” because Calvert was not hurting patients and cooperated with the investigation.
She said she believed he did bill excessively and added, “But is the answer a felony conviction that can jeopardize his license? Under the circumstances, the fact that he met me halfway … I decided to give him a break.”
Barens said Calvert has continued his practice through “an extremely difficult time in his life for him and his family.”
By ERIC HARTLEY/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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