In 2016, our client, a Florida-based internal medicine physician, pleaded guilty to accepting a $700 kickback for referring a patient to a home health provider. He was sentenced to eight months’ confinement, ordered to pay nearly $55,000 in fees, fines and restitution, and was excluded from federal health care programs for the statutory minimum of five years.
He later obtained licensure in Maryland, Montana, New York and Pennsylvania, and took three continuing medical education courses on medical ethics.
Our client then was hired as the medical director and sole, full-time physician at the state prison in Somerset, Pennsylvania. This facility is where inmates from across the state would go for surgical procedures, oncology care and end-of-life care. In addition, our client provided care to approximately 300 of Somerset’s 2,600 inmates, and he saw upward of 45 patients daily.
His DEA registration, which was issued in 2004, had expired in 2016, so the state prison system’s regional director asked him to get a new one.
The DEA, however, in its order to show cause, said registration denial was warranted because of our client’s Medicare and Medicaid exclusion. It further argued that “the underlying conviction that led to mandatory exclusion does not need to involve controlled substances to support sanction.”