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Dozen doctors get prison in health care fraud, opioid scheme

Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio

A dozen doctors are among 16 people in Michigan and Ohio sentenced to prison for a health care fraud that included the distribution of 6.6 million opioid doses and $250 million in false billings.

A multi-state network of pain clinics participated in the scheme from 2007 to 2018 in which doctors refused to provide patients with opioids unless they agreed to expensive, unnecessary and sometimes painful back injections, the Justice Department said.

Authorities described the clinics as “pill mills” and said they were frequented by people suffering from addictions and drug dealers seeking high-dosage prescription drugs like oxycodone.

The injections were selected because they were among the highest reimbursing procedures, rather than based on medical need. Some patients developed adverse conditions, including open holes in their backs.

“Evidence further established that the defendant physicians repeatedly performed these unnecessary injections on patients over several years,” the Justice Department said in a release.

“These are not just crimes of greed, these are crimes that make this country’s opioid crisis even worse,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr.

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