ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) – Florida Hospital doctors have returned from Puerto Rico, after spending almost two weeks on the island helping with Hurricane Maria retrieval attempts.  

“Our expertise there was a really satisfying one,” explained Dr. Katia Lugo.   “We were able to accomplish unique things. Health care isn’t only impacted by us. We were able to supply food, water, supplies and everything in various areas of the island.”  

The emergency physicians focused largely on areas and worked in combination with response agencies and healthcare organizations, where access to care has been limited.

“The single regional hospital in the northwest of the island was going to close. We went there as a team and relieved a number of the physicians that were working since Maria and assisted them get diesel, drugs,”   Dr. Lugo added.  

A second set of physicians traveled to Puerto Rico last week also will continue to offer assistance and care, while also assessing the overall health needs of the island.

Florida Hospital claims thatthroughout the weekend, another group of physicians was discharged to the U.S. Virgin Islands to provide relief to local doctors who have been working around the clock since Hurricane Maria struck.

Posted:  Oct 09 2017 07:21PM EDT

Video Posted:  Oct 09 2017 07:06PM EDT

Ever since she was a girl, Michele Martinho wanted to be a physician.

It is all she thought about. Her young life revolved about her dream, and she molded her education and activities about that dream to make sure she gained admission to medical school and then ultimately a residency.

Michelle was the daughter of offenses, and fate seemed to be on her own side. Instantly upon conclusion of her training, she was offered the chance to purchase a clinic on the Lower East side. Thus, with money she moved ahead.

The Washington Post noted that today, Michelle Martinho is merely one of 16 physicians who’ve pleaded guilty to some yearlong scheme that netted over $100 million. Michelle’s dream of being a physician has ended with her getting a felon. In 2014, she pleaded guilty to a count of accepting a bribe.

Last month, to a group, Martinho spoke as a physician and a felon at the Georgetown University School of medication. She states her entire world came undone by means of an aspect of medical practice which, despite many years of education, she was ill-equipped to handle.

Doctor Martinho admitted monthly payments of $5,000 to refer patients to Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services, a New Jersey facility supplying blood tests and screenings. These health care referrals are prohibited because it allows doctors to possibly put their financial interests ahead of the patients’ interests.

The research has led to 43 people being convicted, 29 of whom were physicians. As stated by the U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey, $100 million has been paid into the testing lab by both private insurers and Medicare. The government has recovered over $12 million through asset forfeiture, and the company is out of business.

In the situation of Martinho, she accepted money payments totaling $155,000. She admits that she understood she was evading tax laws when she started taking the money and blames only herself for the situation she finds herself in. She was not conscious that the prosecution itself was considered a kickback. It ended up being a buddy put up her office that suggested the idea for her, which was followed up with a representative itself.

Michelle Martinho now offers to speak at health care establishment or any integrity that will accept her because she would like to warn future doctors about matters. She advises her audience to not accept anything in the numerous device, drug, along with other representatives who work so difficult to gain access to physicians’ offices.

And, in case there is any confusion, she suggests they seek guidance from an attorney that specializes in medical practice.

“I want them to understand, ‘Wow, this is how it happens.’ Slowly it infiltrates into your practice, and you did not see it coming.”

Martinho is a single parent to 2 small kids, and she is facing not only the loss of her medical license but possible jail time as well. The greatest punishment for her offense is a five-year prison sentence and really a fine. She understands that, as a felon, her future job prospects are not good, and she had a bank account. Furthermore, she knows that, due to her conviction, several institutions have dismissed her request to speak to their students. Basically, she believes she’s destroyed her life.

“All of those things from 1 decision, 1 offense, which is huge. But I want to make certain this rings in future students’ minds. We have not been prepared for the work of medicine. We were taught the medication of medication.”

Martinho said that “restorative justice” was her own idea, which she expected to speak for as many health care students as possible. So far she’s emailed about 350 medical groups, medical schools, and other associations, so far, she’s completed 25 lectures.

Michele Martinho stated she doesn’t know if her efforts will help when it comes to sentencing, and explained that no arrangement has been made with prosecutors, when requested.

Speaking in an interview after her Georgetown lecture, Martinho stated, “I am hoping that it makes a difference overall in my own future.”

Patch noted that Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services at Parsippany received over $350,000, whereas Martinho netted about $155,000. The money bribes were paid by A BLS salesperson from the name of Kevin Kerekes into Martinho; Kerekes has pleaded guilty for his participation. U.S. lawyer Paul Fishman announced that Martino is currently scheduled for Legislation on July 8.

The strategy, which included partners and the corporation’s president, resulted in over $ 100 million in payments from private insurance companies and Medicare to BLS. So far, over $12 million has been recovered through forfeiture.

[Featured Image by Ruslan Guzov/Shutterstock]