Patient Reactions to Fraud / Abuse Accusations

As a follow up to last week’s posting on pain management enforcement, we indicated that investigations concerning abuse in pain management focus on the treatment as opposed to a fraudulent claim.
There is no crime of practicing bad medicine; physicians in these cases are charged under narcotics laws for trafficking using the same laws as are used for drug dealers. Under federal law, that a physician issued a prescription for a legitimate medical purpose is only a defense to a charge of narcotics trafficking and not an exclusion under the statute. In many senses, every time a physician issues a prescription or dispenses a controlled substance, the physician is making a judgment that subjects him or her to potential criminal liability.
The question generally asked by investigators is whether the physician has given up his role as a physician and turned into a narcotics trafficker. In pain management, the propriety of issuing a prescription and the medical judgment is what is called into question. Often when health care providers are investigated or arrested for fraud or abuse, not much is heard from actual patients.
Interestingly, the reaction to search warrants being issued at your doctor’s office can vary, it appears the physician at the heart of the investigation, Dr. Sam Jahani, does have some supporters and detractors among his patients. The Denver Post; Channel KJCT8 and NBC 11 News posted some of those reactions below. The NBC11 article features a patient who says the physicians caused her and her husband to be drug addicts, the others feature some positive reactions by patients.