Articles Posted in Pain Management

LOUISVILLE, KY. – How does a doctor get convicted of money laundering, health care fraud and doling out prescription drugs like jelly beans and then sentenced to 230 years in prison with a fine of $10.2 million? By not having a health care fraud attorney willing to ask his client the tough questions, nor one who will give his client the honest truth, or that will dig in for the fight and not accept the maximum sentence and fine for his client. That is what could happen to a Louisville doctor indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this month.

After a year-long investigation by the police, the FBI, and DEA, the grand jury indicted Dr. George Kudmani.

The indictment alleges that the doctor would see more than 35 patients per day. Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that new doctors average eight minutes per patient. Doctors who have been practicing for a number of years would probably need less time per patient. Thirty-five patients per day would be an easy figure to reach.

money-pile.jpgWESTON, FL (August 16 ) – At a news conference at DEA offices in Weston, FL, on Thursday regarding in the latest crackdown on South Florida pill mills – Phase II of the two-year Operation Pill Nation – it was announced that, seven doctors, three pain clinic owners at the Pompano Beach Medical Corp., and one owner’s relative have been arrested for crimes including racketeering, trafficking in a controlled substance, money laundering among others.

The allegations are that beginning in April 2010 and continuing up until as recent as last month, undercover investigators visited the clinic and were prescribed controlled substances despite the fact that none of the agents were suffering from any infirmity that required medication.

“The DEA does not target doctors; we target drug traffickers,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark Trouville said.

Photobucket SOUTH FLORIDA (AUGUST 17, 2011) – Despite new legislative efforts with stricter regulations on pain clinics and dispensing of narcotic painkillers, deaths from oxycodone overdoses continue to rise in South Florida. Governor Rick Scott believed the state’s effort to make it harder for pill mills to operate in the state would decrease the number of deaths from narcotic painkillers. The numbers continue to rise.
The number of oxycodone-related deaths rose from 2009 by about 8 percent. Jim Hall, director of the Center for the Study & Prevention of Substance Abuse at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, feels there won’t be much improvement in the numbers until late in the year.

PhotobucketWEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA, (AUGUST 10, 2011) – In a raid that seized patient files, computers and the license of a West Palm Beach physician, authorities alleged that Dr. John Peter Christensen had been doling out prescriptions for painkillers without performing patient exams.

Christensen, under investigation since 2008, worked with a father and son team of chiropractors, Joseph Wagner and John Wagner, in Daytona Beach to bill insurance companies for exams that were never performed. The chiropractors asked patients to sign blank insurance forms which would later be filled in to reflect a patient exam by Christensen.

Records from the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office show that Christensen gave out prescriptions to six young men who later died of drug overdoses. Parents of two former patients who died of drug overdoses have also sued Christensen, with one case settled and one still pending.

PhotobucketFORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA (July 6, 2011) – Armed with the new pill mill law, which took effect July 1, law enforcement officials have begun collecting narcotic pain killers and other addictive medications from doctors and clinics. The law effectively halted the dispensing of those medications by anyone other than a licensed pharmacist.
In a campaign deemed a “state of emergency” in combating prescription drug abuse by Florida Surgeon General H. Frank Farmer, Broward Sheriff’s office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials combined efforts with the Florida Department of Health to visit one of the first targeted medical facilities, the Wellness and Pain Centers of Broward. Approximately ten officials arrived at 9 a.m. to confiscate pills.
Any medical office or clinic that has ordered at least 2,000 pills per month since the beginning of the year or with known history of questionable practices, can expect to receive a visit soon. Leftover sealed pills can be returned to the distributor for credit or refund or turned over to law enforcement where the pills will be destroyed.

PhotobucketBROWARD and PALM BEACH COUNTIES, FLORIDA – Continuing the crackdown on pill mills in Florida, local, state and federal law enforcement officials confiscated medical and financial records from three alleged pill-mills in Broward and Palm Beach counties, one week after Governor Rick Scott signed the “Pill Mill Bill”.

Officers donned masks as “Operation Blue Spoon” raided Total Medical Express locations in Margate, Boca Raton and Palm Springs under the suspicions that the clinics operated without the proper licenses for pain clinics. Palm Beach County arrests included the pharmacy department manager, Marc Donegan and the office manager, Adelard LeFrancois; both charged with prescription-drug trafficking and failing to maintain required paperwork records to track movement of prescription drugs. Dr. Sherri Pinsely, the alleged pill supplier, was also arrested shortly after the raids on the same charge of failing to maintain required paperwork. The Clay County Sheriff arrested Richard McMillian of Delray Beach and Pasquale Gervasio of Parkland and charged the pair with operating the Orange Park clinic without a license.

At the time of these arrests, officials were looking for Dr. Arnold Aaron of Boca Raton, the manager of the clinics and a board-certified family practitioner and anesthesiologist, but learned the doctor had traveled to Michigan for surgery. Although previously led to believe the doctor was “on his deathbed,” officials discovered he was actually living at a retirement home. He was booked on a $250,000 bond into the Oakland County Jail in Michigan on the Clay County warrant. Aaron confessed knowledge of the charges and anticipated his arrest because other Florida doctors involved with pain clinics had been arrested. Aaron waived extradition back to Florida.

Photobucket DESTIN, FLORIDA – Robert Bourlier, a Destin physician was convicted on 126 counts of illegal prescription writing and 17 counts of health care fraud during a three-week trial. Dr. Bourlier prescribed the medications in quantities that led his patients to abusing, misusing and eventually becoming addicted to the drugs. As a result of his malfeasance, two patients died.

More than 76 witnesses came forward to testify to the doctor’s actions of continuing to write prescriptions after he knew the patients had become addicts or in some cases, overdosed. Even after learning that patients were shopping for more drugs or selling them, he continued to write prescriptions.

Two patients died as a result of Bourlier’s drug dispensing practices: one from methadone and alprazolam and the other from hydrocodone and alprazolam. Because one of the deaths involves methadone, Bourlier faces a mandatory sentence of 20 years to life in prison. For each health care fraud conviction he could receive 10 years and for each count of illegal dispensing of prescription drugs, 20 years.

Photobucket PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA (May 26, 2011) – State Attorney Michael McAuliffe and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw will co-host Palm Beach County’s Prescription Drug Abuse and Pain Clinic Summit. The event takes place today, May 26, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 at the Clayton Hutcheson Agricultural Center.

The summit focuses on prevention of the consequences surrounding addiction and prescription drug dealing before they occur.

This is the summit’s second year and since that time the number of pain clinics dealing in the illegal prescription drug trade has dropped significantly; due in part to law enforcement’s wide-sweeping raids.

PhotobucketPALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA (May 14, 2011) – South Florida, usually a premier destination for those desiring beautiful beaches, fine dining and luxury accommodations has become a major draw for out-of-state drug traffickers seeking, among other drugs, the popular narcotic painkiller, Oxycodone.

The out-of-towners, called “pillbillies” because of their connection to the Appalachian region, buy large quantities of prescription drugs, then head back to their home state to sell them. Local law enforcement resources have become overtaxed due to the large number of these out-of-state defendants frequently caught during a routine traffic stop.

The majority of offenders hail from Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky and for the last five years, “pillbillies” have clogged up the Broward County court docket, which ultimately hits local residents’ wallets. One day in jail costs the county $114 for each jailed defendant.

money-pile.jpgTALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA (May 10, 2011) – Florida’s legislature scored a big win with the passage of the bill to target pill mills, prescription drug dealers and users. Supporters of the bill consider the loopholes minor.

House Bill 7095 bill makes provisions for a state prescription database and requires drugstores to log the sale of every prescription pain pill. It does not, however, require doctors and pharmacists to check the database before handing the patient their pills. Mandating a database check could catch abusers through cross-referencing all places where they fill prescriptions.

Certain doctors and practices also fall under an exemption for registration with the database. Board-certified pain specialists, such as anesthesiologists, neurologists and surgeons can dispense pain meds without registering the transaction. Non-exempt physicians must register their office, have an inspection and follow set standards of patient care. With more than one-half of Florida’s pain clinics run by board-certified pain doctors, potential for abuse runs high. State officials offer that the class of exempted doctors generally are much less likely to abuse the system.

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