Dr. Richard C. Costa Agrees to License Suspension After Guilty Plea
February 1, 2024
Cherry Hill Courier-Post
TRENTON – A state regulatory board has disciplined a longtime South Jersey doctor who admitted guilt to health care fraud.
Dr. Richard C. Costa — sentenced by a federal judge to six months of home confinement in March 2023 — has agreed to a five-year license suspension under a consent order reached with the State Board of Examiners.
The family doctor has already completed an active suspension for four months and 11 days, according to the Jan. 25 order.
The balance of the license suspension will be stayed and served as probation through at least Aug. 23, 2027.
Compounded medications were not needed
The consent order also required Costa to pay a $10,000 fine and to complete a board-approved course in ethics.
A lawyer who represented Costa before the board described him as “an extraordinary physician.”
“We’re thankful to the board for recognizing his long and honorable career,” attorney Thomas Calcagni of Newark said in a Jan. 30 statement,
He noted the order will allow Costa “to continue looking after the wellbeing of the people and families that count on him.”
How did doctor commit health care fraud?
According to the order, the regulatory board found Costa’s offense was “inconsistent with the public’s health, safety or welfare” and represented “professional misconduct.”
Costa admitted guilt under a plea agreement in Philadelphia federal court in March 2022.
The physician, then 69, said he wrote prescriptions for unneeded compounding medications in exchange for $100 kickbacks from drug company sales representatives.
The costly medicines, when actually needed, can be used as creams to treat pain, scars and for other purposes.
Costa caused Medicare to lose about $62,000 through his actions March 2016 and February 2018, court records say.
Compounded medication scheme
Under his sentence, a federal judge also ordered Costa to spend three years on probation and to make restitution for its loss to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service.
Prosecution cites ‘financial pressures’ on MD
The doctor, with annual income of about $270,000, faced “financial pressures primarily because of his alimony obligations to two former spouses,” a federal prosecutor asserted in a 2023 sentencing memorandum.
Costa wrote the prescriptions from a medical practice in Berlin, and sometimes traveled to Philadelphia to meet a conspirator, the filing said.
The doctor, who’s held a medical license since 1986, now operates a “family concierge practice” in Marlton, according to a sentencing memorandum from a defense attorney in the criminal case, Henry Hockeimer Jr. of Philadelphia.
Hockeimer, in seeking a probationary sentence, argued the doctor’s crime was “not indicative of Dr. Costa’s kind, thoughtful, and caring nature,”
“To this day, Dr. Costa hopes to be able to continue working until the age of ninety,” his memorandum said.
Jim Walsh is a senior reporter for the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal.
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