Dr. Javaid Perwaiz knew that government-funded Medicaid insurance required that patients consent to sterilization surgeries at least 30 day before they were performed.
And yet he admitted during testimony Thursday in his criminal trial in U.S. District Court in Norfolk that he frequently backdated the forms to make it appear he’d complied with the rule, which prosecutors said was created decades ago to prevent low-income women from being pressured into getting sterilized.
“It was to help the patients,” Perwaiz said of his backdating practice.
Each had already expressed a desire to get sterilized more than 30 days before the procedure was done, he said, and he didn’t want to make them wait any longer. Even the ones who’d first come to him just a few days before getting procedures done had told another doctor they wanted it, he said.
Also, some were close to having their Medicaid insurance run out and he wanted to ensure they got the surgery while still covered. Perwaiz said he always informed them the procedure was permanent, but also told them it could be reversed later.
The 70-year-old doctor’s testimony came during the 11th day of his trial on 61 counts of fraud.
The trial began Oct. 14 and is expected to last several more days. Prosecutors have alleged Perwaiz performed numerous unnecessary surgeries and procedures on his patients for years in order to fund a lavish lifestyle.
The doctor first took the witness stand in his own defense Wednesday, testified all of Thursday, and is set to return Monday when the trial resumes.
During testimony Thursday, Perwaiz also conceded he never used scopes with cameras that could project what he was seeing inside the patient onto a monitor in the operating room — a common practice used by all the other OB-GYNs doing surgery at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.
Perwaiz said the equipment wasn’t available when he was training in the 1970s, nor was it something he was comfortable using, or was required to use.
But the longtime physician strongly denied ever doing surgeries that weren’t medically necessary, or inducing pregnant patients to deliver their babies earlier than was medically safe. Prosecutors have alleged he regularly induced pregnant women early in order to make sure he was the one to deliver the baby and get paid for it.
Assistant U.S. District Attorney Elizabeth Yusi asked Perwaiz to explain why most of his pregnant patients in 2019 had their labors induced early, and almost always on Saturdays when he was at the hospital performing surgeries.
Perwaiz said that there were risks with letting a patient go beyond 39 weeks of pregnancy and he was trying to prevent that.
While prosecutors contend that the inductions were routinely scheduled at 38 weeks of pregnancy — which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says is unsafe for the mother and baby — the doctor said he always did them in the 39th week.
He also said he was proud that his rate of cesarean section deliveries, which pay much more than inductions and spontaneous deliveries, was the lowest among the OB-GYNs who regularly worked at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.
But the doctor admitted under cross examination that he frequently changed original pregnancy due dates to an earlier date. He said it was based on his calculations and not because it was more convenient for his schedule.
He also said he realized now that it was wrong to indicate on insurance provider forms that he’d never been convicted of a felony. He claimed he wasn’t trying to hide anything and said the forms were filled out by his staff before he signed them. Perwaiz pleaded guilty to two felony counts of felony tax evasion in 1996 and had his license suspended for a few months afterward.
Jane Harper, 757-222-5097, [email protected]
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