DOJ Announces Settlement with Physicians Based on Pre-Signed Blank Prescriptions for Controlled Substances

On August 8, 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced that two physicians had agreed to settle allegations of improper dispensing of controlled substances and improper billing. According to this press release, a physician and his addiction treatment clinic, H.K.D. Treatment Options, agreed to pay $23,000 to settle claims of improper billing of medical services under the Controlled Substances Act and the False Claims Act. A physician employed by the pain treatment clinic also agreed to pay a $12,500 civil penalty for issuing invalid prescriptions for controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act.

The government alleged that under the direction of the physician-owner of the pain management clinic, another physician signed hundreds of blank prescriptions for use by unsupervised non-physician staff while the physician signing the prescriptions was on vacation. The non-physician staff issued over 600 prescriptions for controlled substances using the pre-signed blank prescriptions. The government also alleged that the pain treatment center billed Medicare improperly for services related to the prescriptions that non-physician staff provided in the other physician’s absence and that the physician-owner falsely reported to Medicare that the physician on vacation had supervised the services by the non-physician practitioners. A copy of the press release on the settlement can be found here.

Written by: Clay J. Countryman

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