DEA Red Flags That Can Trigger DEA Investigations (Raids) Into Your Practice

DEA Red Flags

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office of diversion uses “red flag” indicators to determine which doctors should be the subject of increased scrutiny, undercover visits, or potentially, a raid. The presence of a greater number of these DEA red flags increases the likelihood of scrutiny. 

There is nothing illegal about most of these red flags. However, possessing even a few of these may cause your clinic or practice to face increased scrutiny from the DEA or other federal agencies.

Many of our national physician clients — from Detroit to Miami, and from Los Angeles and Southern California to Chicago — who have been indicted for drug trafficking tell us they wish they had known that some of the red flags present at their practice were problematic in the first place.

At Chapman Law Group, we have extensive experience dealing with the DEA in criminal and administrative matters on a national level. We have compiled a list of the DEA red flags used to determine whether a physician may be prescribing for “other than legitimate medical purposes.” They are itemized by importance.

Be Aware of These DEA Red Flags

  • The practice is cash only.
  • It does not bill insurance.
  • The practice has a high number of out-of-state patients.
  • It has a high proportion of Schedule II and III narcotics relative to legend drugs.
  • Patients travel long distances to fill prescriptions.
  • The provider is not board certified, or practices outside of his/her specialty (i.e., a general practitioner practicing pain management).
  • There is a high number of family members in a pain management practice.
  • It has a lack of interventional techniques or physical therapy.
  • The practice has a high number of “doctor shoppers.”
  • There’s a high number of patients per day (i.e., 30-40 versus 15-25).
  • Patients travel long distances to receive treatment.
  • “Marketers” frequent your practice. Marketers gather potential patients together and drive them to a pain management clinic. Once the patients receive their prescription, they sell it to the marketer. Some marketers may seem legitimate and call themselves caretakers or drivers.
  • The office does not appear as a “typical” medical practice.
  • The office does not have proper equipment, such as exam tables, EKG equipment or blood pressure monitors.
  • The office is open during unusual hours.
  • The practice has a limited number of support staff (i.e., no nurses, medical assistants or N.P. on staff).

Does Your Healthcare Practice Have Any of These DEA Red Flags? The National Criminal Law Attorneys at Chapman Law Group Can Help

If your practice presents some of these DEA red flags, you could face scrutiny from the DEA in the form of undercover patient visits, or even the execution of a search warrant (a raid). The items above are all frequently argued by federal prosecutors when seeking a conviction against a doctor for prescribing “without a legitimate medical purpose,” and therefore engaging in drug trafficking.

If any of the items above at your practice are present, contact Chapman Law Group today for a free consultation. We will work to review your practice model and assist with developing a compliance plan to get your practice back on track, and possibly prevent criminal charges or suspension of your DEA registration.

With 35 years of experience in national DEA matters and criminal law within the health care industry, Chapman Law Group is your first and best choice. We work with licensed healthcare professionals across Michigan (including Detroit, Dearborn, Troy, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids), Florida (Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach), and all over the U.S. 

Contact us today and let us put our DEA know-how to work for you.

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Juan C. Santos, LL.M.

Senior Attorney

Miami Office
1001 Brickell Bay Drive, Suite 1714
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (305) 712-7177

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