Forging patient signatures, creating false records for nonexistent patients, forging prescriptions and false billing all have one thing in common: A medical professional might lose their license. These actions sometimes happen without intention from all parties involved. Forging patient and/or staff signatures on consent forms, insurance forms or checks may seem like a convenient and efficient option, but individuals of all professions should be reminded of the dangers.
Pennsylvania forgery defined
In Pennsylvania, the crime of forgery is essentially considered fraud. Mentioned before, issuing bad checks, false billing, and false personation is taken very seriously by states nationwide. A medical professional may be found guilty of forgery if the intent is to harm or/and defraud someone. Knowledge or facilitation of fraud by another person also defines forgery. The perpetrator might:
- Alter a document without permission
- Act on behalf of another person without that person’s authorization
- Create fictitious documents for payment or other matters
How forgery is charged
Depending on the state, forgery is not charged unless the act is done with intent. The creation of false documents is considered forgery. An example might be copying someone’s signature and utilizing it without their knowledge or permission.
In Pennsylvania, forgery is a crime that can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. Felony of the second degree pertains to money, postage stamps and other government instruments. Fraud or forgery dealing with property and business certifications is another. Penalties include up to ten years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
What does forgery mean to a medical professional?
Types of forgery charges vary, and so do the penalties. A forgery conviction can lead to prison time and hefty criminal fines. Implications also include damage to professional reputation, further affecting a medical professional’s career. A felony is also ground to losing a medical license. The nature of the allegations may lead to a misdemeanor or felony, both of which carry prison time and financial peril. A forgery conviction is life-changing for professionals in the medical field. Mistakes can happen, especially when handling sensitive information. Cases like this are not uncommon in the world of healthcare.