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The lure of padding his income by taking off-the-books cash from patients seeking illicit opiate medications was apparently too much for one urgent care physician; he just pled guilty in New Haven, CT federal court to charges of narcotics distribution. He also copped to healthcare fraud based on his practice of prescribing unnecessary opiates to patients who didn’t want or need them, some of whom never even ingested the medications. Many of them were enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare, which ultimately paid for the prescriptions. There were other patients who actively sought prescriptions (mainly for hydrocodone and oxycodone) from him, whom he was happy to oblige for $100 cash each time. He was not the owner of the urgent care center from which he ran his operation from approximately 2011 through July 2017; it’s unclear whether his employer will face any consequences. There was testimony in the case that some of his fellow staff members knew what was going one, and in fact warned him that what he was flouting the law and professional ethics. The convicted provider admitted to writing hundreds of bad prescriptions for nearly $160,000 over time; he’ already been ordered to fork over that much to the government. If he receives the maximum sentence for each count, on top of that he could spend 30 years in prison; given that he’s 71-years-old, that would likely end up being a life sentence.

Inappropriate Opiate Prescribing Has an Urgent Care Physician Facing Serious Time