In the midst of one of the biggest opioid epidemics the world has ever seen, prescription drug distribution crimes are being punished to the fullest extent of the law. That is exactly what happened in an insurance fraud and drug distribution case that concluded recently. An OBGYN physician has been convicted of impersonating her patients while also defrauding health insurance companies in the midst of a large drug distribution scheme. As a result, the physician was sentenced to 54 months in prison. In response, the physician has also lost her license to practice medicine after admitting guilt in the felony charges that were filed last year.
Among the guilty pleas include opioid distribution, healthcare fraud, obstruction of justice, and aggravated identity theft. All of them are felonies under the law. Following the release of this physician from prison, she will need to serve three years of probation. The Justice Department has called this physician’s conduct horrendous and highlighted the tremendous scheme that was involved.
Issues surrounding healthcare and insurance have been thrust into the spotlight with the major issues facing the healthcare system today. According to mattsharplaw.com, some of the major issues that clients and patients may face with insurance companies include, “bad faith, delay or underpayment of claim, or failure to defend.” When a physician is working to defraud these insurance companies, it only serves to highlight the pain everyone else feels. The dollars of insurance companies must be used to fund legitimate healthcare services in order to keep premiums low.
According to the original complaint that was filed last year, the physician wrote prescriptions for a number of medications include hydromorphone (Dilaudid), oxycodone, and morphine in the names of former patients. These patients did not have any current need for these medications. After writing the prescriptions, the physician would pose as that former patient in order to fill the prescriptions. They made sure to go to the pharmacies that were visited by these former patients in an effort to make the scheme look legitimate.
The opioid epidemic is a serious issue across the country. These medications are highly addictive and incredibly dangerous. The actions of this physician only serve to flood the streets with additional opioids and narcotics. With countless deaths already taking place as a result of prescription opioid and narcotic mediations, it is easy to see why the justice system cracked down on this scheme. Of note, there was a second person involved in this scheme who is still awaiting sentencing.