VA doctor indicted in theft

Monday, May 6, 2013 12:48 PM
Last updated 10:37 PM
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Kostromin  Special
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Kostromin


A doctor at Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center has been suspended after he got free drugs that the state says he wasn’t entitled to, according to an indictment and comments the physician apparently posted on a state licensing Web site.

Dr. Raymond Kostromin, 49, has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to theft. He is scheduled to stand trial next week, but with defense motions still pending, the trial is likely to be postponed.

According to the indictment, he is accused of receiving, between Jan. 12, 2010, and Aug. 8, 2011, plastic surgery and a number of prescriptions from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The services and medications were received through the VA Healthcare System’s free-services program, which is only for veterans with certain income levels, the indictment said.

Kostromin, according to the indictment, was told he was ineligible for free care because of his income level.

“We fully expect Dr. Kostromin to be exonerated in a court of law,” said his defense attorney, Richard Goolsby Sr.

He is seeking to get the charge dismissed. Goolsby said the state lacks jurisdiction because the VA hospital and its services are under the control of the federal government. Getting his motions heard is a priority for the defense, Goolsby said.

On his physician profile page on the Georgia Composite Medical Board, Kos­tro­min wrote that he is an internist at the Augusta VA “where I am currently on suspension due to an indictement.”

Augusta VA spokesman Pete Scovill would not say whether Kostromin was suspended but did release a statement: “Char­lie Norwood VA Medical Center regrets the circumstances that led to the arrest of a staff physician. Physician named in the complaint is not currently seeing patients.”
The statement said the case was investigated by the VA Office of the Inspector General, and “that investigation led to charges by the State of Georgia.”

Kostromin’s license is still active, said Robert Jeffery, the director of operations for the Geor­gia licensing board. The agency “can’t confirm the presence or absence of an ongoing investigation,” he said. Kostromin is the only one who is authorized to post physician comments on his profile page, Jeffery said.

In those comments, Kos­tromin said he was a nine-year Army veteran.

“For a period of 1.5yrs i was dispensed medication thru the VA pharmacy” the comment reads, which lists six drugs, including an anti-depressant, an anti-seizure/panic attack medication and an erectile dysfunction drug. The comment concludes: “i have been since told that due to my income i was not eligible to received these medications – and this is what i am being charged with.”

Comments (17) Add comment
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Little Lamb
46851
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Little Lamb 05/06/13 - 01:30 pm
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Interesting

It is interesting why the county or state are pursuing this instead of the feds.

my.voice
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my.voice 05/06/13 - 01:49 pm
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"He is seeking to get the

"He is seeking to get the charge dismissed because he contends the state lacks jurisdiction because the VA hospital and its services are under the control of the federal government"

Seems a rather foolish approach if you ask me.

dichotomy
34325
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dichotomy 05/06/13 - 03:43 pm
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Seems to me all of this would

Seems to me all of this would be federal.

Red Headed Step Child
4184
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Red Headed Step Child 05/06/13 - 03:56 pm
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Erectile dysfunction and anti-depressants

Being unable to get a stiffy will surely bring you down..

Dixieman
15888
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Dixieman 05/06/13 - 06:19 pm
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DIXIEMAN IS A VETERAN

But does not like to go to the VA for treatment due to stuff like this.
Also, though the story could be a lot clearer, this does not sound like a criminal case but rather a license revocation case. And the Federal government does not license doctors, only States do, so it seems that is why this is a State court matter.

redapples
660
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redapples 05/06/13 - 06:26 pm
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How embarrassing?!

How embarrassing?!

GiantsAllDay
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GiantsAllDay 05/06/13 - 08:25 pm
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I know it's wrong to profile

I know it's wrong to profile but this guy doesn't seem like the doctor type to me.

sbear
13
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sbear 05/06/13 - 09:03 pm
3
3
VA doctor indicted for theft

You should not sit in judgement of a person when you do not have any facts to support your comments. Except for the Grace of God, this could be me or you.

Dr. Kostromin is a fine physician and well liked by his patients and clinic staff. This is nothing more than a personal vendetta by other individuals at the VA.

Little Lamb
46851
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Little Lamb 05/06/13 - 11:05 pm
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1
Perspective

Thank, you, sbear, for some personal experience. I gave you a thumbs up.

PrayN4U
358
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PrayN4U 05/07/13 - 07:38 am
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1
Veteran

I only know what the paper prints but he is a veteran and this is a hospital for Veterans. Why is his income a issue? Pay grades higher than his use military hospitals. The VA is not for poor people, it's for veterans. Allow his insurance to pay the cost of whatever he use. Also, the VA allowed this, why aren't they being charged. He didn't do plastic surgery on himself. He didn't go into the pharmacy and get the meds. Sounds like he is being used as a scape goat.

corgimom
33936
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corgimom 05/07/13 - 09:15 am
1
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He is being charged with

He is being charged with theft because he is a thief. Why should he get these drugs for free- he's not low-income by any means, it is outrageous that taxpayers should be paying for his drugs, especially his erectile-dysfunction drugs. He is not a scapegoat, he knew that program was for low-income patients. When you steal, you should expect to get caught, and you should expect bad things to happen to you. He makes well over $100,000 per year, probably closer to $200,000 per year, and taxpayers are supposed to pay for his drugs? Really?

sbear
13
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sbear 05/07/13 - 09:53 am
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Veteran

Veteran, you are absolutely correct. The system "flags" a patient that is not eligible for care.

GiantsAllDay
9844
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GiantsAllDay 05/07/13 - 10:21 am
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1
If this guy makes what the

If this guy makes what the average physician makes, the taxpayers should not be paying for his boner pills. Just my opinion.

griff6035
4093
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griff6035 05/07/13 - 11:23 am
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Veteran

Whether or not medications are dispensed copay or no copay depends on whether they are for service connected injures or other problems such as PTSD. A veterans service record DD-214 given to all military persons upon discharge generally list this information about injures. Service connected is the keyword. I am a veteran enrolled in the VA system for twenty two years and some of my Medications are copay an some are no copay.

Amanda Story
4
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Amanda Story 05/07/13 - 02:50 pm
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Va Doctor

We all need to know all the facts before commenting or judging. Our media has a way to not give all the true facts. Bill O'Reilly could give the facts. Courtesy between all doctors is known. It sounds to me that the VA allowed this during the period of time stated, so a slap on the hand could have prevented the expense and embarrassments this Dr. Is facing.

justus4
103
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justus4 05/07/13 - 04:15 pm
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These acts by this guy
Unpublished

These acts by this guy constitutes a leadership failure by the VA, and by keeping it away from the Feds, these failures of oversight will likely continue. Others within the VA system should be investigated because other physicians prescribed his illegal prescriptions and must have had knowledge. This guy's acts clearly demonstrates poor supervision, lack of attention to details, and a reckless disregard for established federal regulations. He should be fired!

military
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military 05/07/13 - 05:29 pm
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veteran

As a long time veteran i can tell U that much of the info above is incorrect--most VA patients pay a co-pay for there meds and if they have secondary insurance they are billed as well-ie--i doubt this veteran received any of these meds for free unless as stated above he was service connected for it-i also find it strange regarding the time frame-why did the VA dispense these meds if the veteran was ineligible-finally I would add that Little Lamb above should either get a job or stop surfing the net at work--UR comments are in very poor taste

military
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military 05/07/13 - 05:41 pm
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0
veteran

I am a long time veteran of the VA system and have read the above posts-the majority are incorrect in part due to the lack of info in the article. Most VA patients pay a co-pay for their medications and if they have a secondary insurance then it is billed as well-ie-i doubt this veteran received the medication for free-as also stated above if the veteran was ineligible for
medications they never should have been processed thru the pharmacy-his name would have likely been flagged-they should have never been sent--i also believe Little Lamb above should either get a job or quit surfing the net at her current job.

sbear
13
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sbear 05/07/13 - 11:00 pm
0
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VA doctor indicted in theft

Military - your comments are absolutely correct.

It is hoped the individuals that are calling this doctor a "thief" are either retired or unemployed. If employed, you are guilty of "stealing" from your employer. You are paid to perform the tasks required by your job, not be online posting your opinions.

GiantsAllDay, what is your description for "the doctor type?" Just wondering. And, yes, you are profiling.

Darby
26870
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Darby 05/08/13 - 11:42 pm
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"....this guy doesn't seem like the

doctor type to me."

.
What was your first clue...???

Guntoter 2
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Guntoter 2 06/04/13 - 12:19 pm
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GOOD DOCTOR.
Unpublished

Oh well I'm not one to sit here and pass judgement on the good Doctor yea good Doctor..I know him as such and never had a problem with him.I hope this situation can be resolved in his favor.

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