A year ago I reported — in May 2008 — that Michael Jackson might be moving to Pougheekpsie, New York.

Where? You’re scratching your head.

It should come as little shock now that Michael’s ex-on the road doctor, Neil Ratner, an anesthesiologist, lives in next door community Woodstock.

Ratner, it seems, had rented Jackson a home and planned on him being around the corner. If you recall, Michael had stalled out in Las Vegas, nearly lost Neverland to foreclosure, and didn’t know what to do with himself.

At the time, even Jackson’s closest associates could not imagine him living in Poughkeepsie.

But little by little stories are emerging about Ratner, a doctor who was suspended from practicing medicine for three years in 2002 as the result of an insurance fraud scheme that involved New York’obstetrician-gynecologist’Dr. Niels Lauersen, the ex-boyfriend of songwriter/socialitie Denise Rich.

Lauersen was famous in New York as a fertility doctor. But for patients without means, he billed their insurance companies for ob-gyn procedures, disguising invitro procedures.

According to New York Magazine:

The government’s star witness was Dr. Neil Ratner, Lauersen’s former anesthesiologist, who testified to a deliberate office policy of falsifying insurance forms. The prosecution knew Ratner would be a shaky witness, so the attorneys started the questioning by having him admit to dodging the draft, to being unable to get into an American med school, to dealing drugs, and to being “pretty stoned a lot of the time I was giving anesthesia,” once accidentally injecting himself with a paralyzing agent on the job. But to Lauersen, Ratner was like a patient, a person he could make well. “I took Ratner when nobody else would,” he says. “I made him a good person.”

During the Lauersen trial in 2000, Ratner refused to say whether he gave Jackson drugs on his 1996-97 tour. According’ to reports, when questioned under oath about drugs, Ratner shot back, “What’s your definition of drugs?”

‘More to come on Ratner, and the whole issue of mobile at-home anesthesiology.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
1 reply to this post
  1. based on the testimony of Dr. Ratner….Dr. Lauersen was convicted of insurance fraud?????
    I had been a patient of Dr. Lauersen for many years and he was the most caring, sympathetic, brilliant doctor plus an impeccable professional. Although his offices were on Park Avenue… His calling was to help all women, not just the ones with money….medical insurance companies are the most callus of service companies…turning down 8 out of every ten claims….making their insured card holders submit and resubmit medical bills to be paid….rejecting almost every claim as “pre-existing condition”….A friend having her second child was rejected on this basis and she had to fight to get the insurance company to honor her condition…..
    In short, Dr. Lauersen’s case was certainly mis-handled and prevented a wonderful Dr. from continuing to help hundreds of needy women.

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