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updated: 4/18/2013 10:13 PM

Another doctor linked to Sacred Heart Hospital charged

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Associated Press

Another physician has been arrested in an ongoing investigation of Chicago's Sacred Heart Hospital, prosecutors announced Thursday, days after initial arrests of its owner, another executive and four doctors.

None of the physicians arrested -- including the latest, Kenneth Nave -- is linked to the most unsettling allegation to emerge: that unnecessary tracheotomies may have been performed to boost revenues.

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Nave, 50, of Chicago, was arrested Wednesday in Miami while returning from a trip abroad. He is charged with prescribing hydrocodone without having a valid license or registration, unsealed federal complaint said.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said Thursday it has withdrawn Nave's license to practice because he was on probation for other disciplinary actions at the time of the alleged crime.

The doctors arrested earlier didn't have previous disciplinary actions, and officials are generally barred from yanking licenses of those with clean records until a conviction, department spokeswoman Susan Hofer said.

Nave made an initial appearance in a federal court in Miami Thursday, and then was released, the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago said. He was scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Chicago on Friday.

A message at an office number for the Chicago doctor said the phone had been disconnected. And there was no publicly available residential listing for a Kenneth Nave in Chicago.

Those arrested earlier in the week are accused of a conspiracy to exchange kickbacks for the referral of patients insured by Medicare and Medicaid. The four doctors arrested on Tuesday allegedly received kickbacks from the hospital totaling more than $225,000.

The hospital's owner, Edward Novak, 58, of Park Ridge, was denied bail and ordered to remain in jail at least until a detention hearing, which was scheduled for Friday.

Prosecutors have said the investigation includes allegations that two other doctors -- neither of whom have been named -- intentionally over-sedated patients and performed unneeded tracheotomies.

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