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Pennsylvania physician accused of health care fraud

A Tioga County physician was charged with health care fraud and unlawful distribution of a controlled substance on Aug. 22. According to the report, the physician was accused of providing prescriptions for narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose between January 2010 and July 2013.

Officers executed a search warrant on the physician's office on July 8 following an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Inspector General, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Department of Health and Human Services. The physician was ultimately accused of providing prescriptions for those who were not patients. These prescriptions were, allegedly, billed to the federal Medicare program.

If the physician is convicted on the controlled substance violation, he could face 20 years in prison. He could also face 10 years in prison on the health care fraud charge. In addition, the man agreed to surrender his DEA registration and medical license. Two others who were also accused of being involved in the alleged fraud were indicted as well. They were identified as a 27-year-old New York man and a 46-year-old Elkland resident. They were accused of aiding the physician in order to obtain benefits from the federal Medicare program.

Being accused of a drug conspiracy can have severe consequences for all of those involved. In addition to a potential jail sentence, an accused doctor or other health care professional may lose the ability to practice medicine. An attorney could form a defense unique to the specific factors in the case. For example, the attorney might uncover evidence that everyone who did receive a narcotics prescription was in fact a patient and did have a legitimate medical need for the specific prescription.

Source: Westfield Free Press-Courier, "County doctor indicted for drugs, fraud", August 27, 2014

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