Clarification: A previous version of this story attributed a statement to Brian Hyatt’s attorney, Gabriel Mallard. Although the statement was sent by Mallard, it is now properly attributed to Hyatt’s office, Pinnacle Premier Psychiatry
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — KNWA/FOX 24 obtains surveillance video used to investigate a Rogers doctor for Medicaid fraud.
Dr. Brian Hyatt was the medical director of Northwest Medical Center’s behavioral health unit from Jan. 2018 to May 2022. His Medicaid billing privileges have been suspended while he is investigated for Medicaid Fraud. Investigators believe Hyatt was overbilling Medicaid at a time when former patients claimed they hardly ever saw the doctor. As part of that investigation, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit says it decided to audit all of the care provided to every patient in the unit on March 15, 2022.
This new video was previously edited by state officials before KNWA/FOX 24 received it. It starts with Hyatt entering the hospital and it says he got to the fourth floor at 6:38 a.m. It says Hyatt first entered the patient area of his unit at 8 a.m. You can see him walking the hall with a computer cart and leaving the fourth floor. The video says he left the floor at 8:05 a.m.
The video then shows Hyatt spending about five minutes on the fifth floor, walking the halls with a colleague. A search warrant obtained by MFCU earlier this year stated “Sometimes he pauses at the rooms and may even look in, but he does not enter the room or have patients come out into the hall.” The video KNWA/FOX24 reviewed coincides with this.
In the video, you see his colleague standing in the doorway of some of the rooms.
The video says he got to the third floor at 8:12 a.m. and left at 8:16 a.m. He then took the computer cart back to the fourth floor where he started. The video says he left the fourth floor at 8:19 a.m. and left the hospital one hour and 41 minutes after he got there.
Investigators wrote in the search warrant affidavit, “This video reflects Dr. Hyatt’s total contact with approximately 74 patients” on that day.
It continues, “Dr. Hyatt’s rounds on the units on this day are completed in an average of less than 20 seconds per patient without entering a patient’s room.”
Although all of the video released was from one single day, the affidavit claims a special agent reviewed “several days and hundreds of hours of video and have yet to observe Dr. Hyatt enter a patient’s room or otherwise have direct contact with a patient.”
When Dr. Hyatt is seen on the fifth floor, the surveillance video is time-stamped and appears to be from the 9 a.m. hour, which does not coincide with the timeline that is detailed by the MFCU. KNWA/FOX24 was told investigators believe the timestamp was wrong and that the video reflects an accurate timeline of events.
KNWA/FOX24 called Hyatt’s attorney, Gabriel Mallard on Wednesday afternoon to ask about the video. We received the following statement by Pinnacle Premier Psychiatry on Thursday:
Dr. Hyatt continues to maintain his innocence and denies the allegations made against him.
He has spent nearly two decades serving individuals with mental illness, with a special focus on serving the poor in a hospital setting, who have very limited access to healthcare. Over the course of his career, he has been recognized by peers and clients alike as an outstanding clinician and caring provider.
The video provided to the media – a compilation of clips selectively chosen by the Attorney General – is misleading, inaccurate, incomplete, and shows a lack of familiarity with various roles in a healthcare setting. Indeed, one news station has already noted that the time stamps do not match up with the affidavit previously produced by the Attorney General.
Dr. Hyatt served as Medical Director of Northwest Health’s Behavioral Health Unit in Springdale. Dr. Hyatt supervised a medical team of physicians, nurse-practitioners, and physician’s assistants who saw patients; evaluated and treated them; reported on their progress; and, consulted with him. Dr. Hyatt was well aware of the status of each patient and was in regular communication with the providers caring for each of them.
To use an incomplete video to demonstrate Dr. Hyatt’s lack of patient contact shows a surprising lack of knowledge or willful ignorance about the position he held and the role of a Medical Director in a medical setting.
Dr. Hyatt’s attorney filed an objection on May 11 to a request to release this video to the public.
In the objection, Dr. Hyatt’s attorney argued that:
• A 21-minute compilation of clips selectively chosen by the Attorney General’s office is
completely lacking in context
• Releasing any footage of hospital surveillance, particularly in a setting of individuals
experiencing mental health crises, sets a dangerous precedent. The fact that patients’ faces
were blurred does not protect their privacy, since dates are clearly visible, and someone could
easily identify a patient based on other distinctive characteristics. No patient, he argued, should
have to worry that their stay in a mental health facility would be broadcast on the evening news.
Dr. Hyatt’s attorney asked that the Attorney General’s office comment if the Office of Medicaid
Inspector General disagreed with the objections.
A copy of the objection is attached.
We strongly caution against jumping to conclusions or publishing unsubstantiated claims before Dr. Hyatt has had the opportunity to defend himself. Because of patient confidentiality laws, we are unable to comment on specific claims.
We look forward to responding to these claims and vindicating him in court so that he may return his energies to making sure all Arkansans have access to quality mental health care.Pinnacle Premier Psychiatry