Debra Bulter (right) walks out of the Keating Federal Building with her attorney, William Easton, after pleading guilty to fraud charges in federal court Tuesday; Photo Courtesy: Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Written by James Goodman and Gary Craig, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
A woman who worked as an administrator in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center pleaded guilty Tuesday to fraud charges in federal court.
Debra Bulter, the URMC administrator, is now expected to cooperate with authorities in an ongoing investigation into an alleged misappropriation of URMC funding.
URMC was defrauded of $1.46 million, according to the allegations in Bulter's plea. She admitted that she played a role in the alleged fraud.
The investigation, sources say, is centered on two anesthesiologists - Dr. James Foster and Dr. Doron Feldman - previously under contract to Strong Memorial Hospital, which is part of the Medical Center. They had worked for the Buffalo-based CGF Anesthesiology Associates.
Federal authorities did not cite the doctors by name in court, only referring to them as "Doctor One" and "Doctor Two."
A Buffalo anesthesiology group was defrauded of $2.5 million, Bulter's plea agreement alleges.
What's at issue is whether the two doctors received a disproportionate share of Medical Center funds, not allowed under the contract, sources say. Strong contracts with CGF for anesthesiology services.
University of Rochester officials revealed in June that an audit had uncovered what officials called a "significant misappropriation" of funds from a Medical Center department. The audit was revealed in a memo to UR officials from university President Joel Seligman.
The auditors' discovery triggered the investigation into the anesthesiologists, sources say.
A UR spokesman said that Foster and Feldman are no longer caring for patients at Strong.
Feldman is still a clinical associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. Foster does not have a faculty appointment.
Bulter was listed by the Association of Academic Anesthesiology Chairs as administrator in the Medical Center's Department of Anesthesiology.