An Alaska doctor was sentenced to 34 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release and fined $25,000 for illegally dispensing and distributing controlled substances to his patients.
According to court documents, between January 2014 and October 2019, family physician David Chisholm, 64, of Wasilla, Alaska, wrote more than 20,000 prescriptions to approximately 350 patients for oxycodone, methadone and hydrocodone. , often prescribing the pills using patient variations. names in an attempt to avoid being reported by payers.
When Walmart refused to continue filling prescriptions, Chisholm told his staff to advise patients to use other pharmacies. Additionally, he often prescribed combinations of medications, such as concomitant opioids, benzodiazepines, sedatives, and carisoprodol, increasing the chances of his patients becoming addicted or overdosed on the drugs. Chisholm, who pleaded guilty in June, admitted to federal authorities that his prescriptions were a significant contributing factor in the overdose deaths of five of his patients during that time, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska.
According to Anchorage Daily News, Chisholm, who was not certified in pain medicine, said his reason for prescribing the drugs was not to make money but to help chronic pain patients and because he loved the challenge.
Chisholm’s attorney, Nick Oberheiden, told CNN his client “sacrificed his reputation as a patient advocate and his years of service to the Alaskan community” by prescribing too many opioids. “He expressed sincere remorse in open court and he accepts the consequences of his misconduct. He hopes his case will serve as a warning to other physicians facing the same dilemma when treating chronic pain.”
He surrendered his medical license in November 2020 before being formally charged in April 2021.
Texas Hospital CEO Seven Doctors Settle Kickback
A hospital executive and seven doctors have agreed to pay a total of $1.1 million to settle allegations that they violated the Anti-Kickback Act and the Stark Act. The eight also agreed to cooperate in investigations and litigation involving other parties.
The Texas doctors involved in the settlement are internist Jaspaul Bhangoo, MD, of Denton; family physician Robert Megna, DO, of Ferris; cardiologist Baxter Montgomery, MD, of Houston; internist Murtaza Mussaji, DO, of Houston; family physician David Sneed, DO, of Austin; family physician Kevin Lewis, DO, of Houston; and family physician Angela Mosley-Nunnery, MD, of Kingwood.
Richard DeFoore, former CEO of Jones County Regional Healthcare (dba Stamford Memorial Hospital), also settled.
The doctors were accused of accepting payments from organizations in exchange for ordering lab tests from True Health Diagnostics, Little River Healthcare and Boston Heart. Payments to doctors were disguised as returns on investment but, it was alleged, were actually offered in exchange for doctors’ referrals. DeFoore, the hospital director involved in the settlement, reportedly oversaw a similar program that benefited the defunct Stamford Memorial.
“Bribing doctors distorts the medical decision-making process, corrupts our health care system, and increases the cost of taxpayer-funded health care,” said Brit Featherston, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas. , in a statement announcing the agreement. “Labs, marketers and doctors cannot immunize their conduct by attempting to disguise kickbacks as some sort of investment arrangement.”
A cabinet administrative assistant sentenced for fraudulent prescriptions
An administrative assistant at an orthopedic office in Illinois was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for writing fraudulent opioid prescriptions.
Amanda Biesiada, 39, of Alsip, Illinois, who worked as an administrative assistant at Hinsdale Orthopedics in Westmont, Illinois, was not a licensed physician and could not legally write prescriptions unless invited and supervised by licensed doctors.
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, the prescriptions for hydrocodone, oxycodone and other controlled substances — 85 prescriptions in total from 2017 to 2019 — were made to an acquaintance in Biesiada. and written without his knowledge. or the approval of the suppliers on whose behalf she wrote them.
Federal officials said Biesiada tried to cover up the fraudulent prescriptions by marking them “filed in error” in the firm’s prescription system.
Lab owner pleads guilty to $6.9 million test fraud scheme
A Florida lab owner has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud Medicare through false and fraudulent claims totaling more than $6.9 million.
According to court documents, Christopher Licata, 45, of Delray Beach, Florida, admitted to bribing patient brokers to send orders for medically unnecessary genetic tests back to his lab. The tests were then billed to Medicare.
Licata and the patient brokers entered into fictitious agreements intended to conceal the true purpose of the payments, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice (DOJ). The 45-year-old owner of Boca Toxicology LLC (dba Lab Dynamics) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud.
The program started in 2018; however, once the pandemic began, Licata shifted strategy, playing on patient fears of COVID-19 to bundle inexpensive COVID tests with more expensive medically unnecessary tests. These tests included respiratory pathogen panels and genetic testing for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases. In total, Licata’s lab submitted more than $6.9 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for these unnecessary tests, according to the DOJ statement.
The case is part of the United States Attorney General’s COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force which was created to bolster the efforts of agencies and governments across the country to combat and prevent fraud related to the pandemic.
Licata faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for March 24.
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