Authorities have reported the arrest of the former chairman of the Arkansas State Medical Board, Brian Thomas Hyatt, on two felony charges related to Medicaid fraud. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Rogers police apprehended the 49-year-old Rogers psychiatrist on Monday.
Tim Griffin, Attorney General, stated that Hyatt’s arrest was facilited by a warrant from a district court judge or Pulaski County. Griffin also mentioned that before Hyatt’s arrest by the Rogers Police Department, an agreement had been reached between prosecutors from his office and the defense counsel for Hyatt’s surrender and court appearance. Griffin anticipates Hyatt’s arrival in Pulaski County court later this month.
In his resignation letter dated May 16, Hyatt maintained his innocence. Hyatt’s activities had attracted the attention of state and federal authorities, prompting investigations into allegations of fraud. U.S. Attorney Clay Fowlkes, representing the Western District of Arkansas, confirmed that agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had searched Hyatt’s Rogers office in May.
This search was initiated following contact from a whistleblower in April 2022 who worked in the behavioral health unit of Northwest Medical Center-Springdale. Hyatt has served as the medical director of this unit since January 2018. The whistleblower’s information was used to obtain a search warrant.
An affidavit brought further attention to Hyatt’s situation, as it came to light that his contract with the medical center had been terminated abruptly in May 2022.
Additionally, in March, Griffin disclosed that Northwest Arkansas Hospitals had reached an agreement to compensate for 246 Medicaid claims totaling $1 million. These claims were based on medical diagnoses, evaluations, and supporting documentation that had been certified by both nonphysician providers under Hyatt’s supervision and Hyatt himself.
The settlement came after an audit by the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care found that the documentation provided for the claims failed to meet the medical necessity requirement for hospitalizations.
In addition to the aforementioned legal hurdles, Brian Thomas Hyatt is entangled in numerous civil lawsuits. Among them, a lawsuit lodged in March within the Washington County Circuit Court alleges that Hyatt, along with others, engaged in the unlawful detention of patients in the behavioral health unit of Northwest Medical Center-Springdale’s with the purported aim of deceitfully billing their private health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, or other relevant insurance plans for care and treatment that ostensibly went unprovided.