In “Physician Guide to Basic Compliance Concepts,” Chapman Law Group’s national healthcare compliance attorneys cover how to spot and avoid healthcare fraud, handling investigations and audits, and keeping your staff in the right.
Why are pain management physicians under constant scrutiny by the DEA, to the point where these doctors are putting limits on care prescriptions for patients who really need them?
On a recent episode of The Daily Addict Podcast, Ronald W. Chapman II of the Chapman Law Group explains why pain management physicians are often in a difficult situation when it comes to doing what’s best for their patients while also staying compliant with DEA regulations.
“Many physicians out there are unintentionally stepping outside of DEA regulations, and it’s unfortunate,” Ron says.
As chair of the national criminal law practice at Chapman Law Group, Ron focuses exclusively on defending health care providers nationwide who are under investigation by the DEA and federal prosecutors.
On The Daily Addict, he explained to hosts “Dave and Tim” and pain patient advocate Claudia Merandi how pain management physicians need to be compliant and maintain heightened awareness when it comes to following rules and regulations.
Ron notes that the DEA “keeps changing the rules,” which is why health care practices should have regular compliance checks by a health care attorney who is well-versed on compliance and keeps up on new regulations.
In addition, Ron discusses the pressure tactics authorities use on pain management physicians and other licensed health care professionals to surrender their DEA registration.
“Even some of the most intelligent doctors I know, even Harvard-trained physicians, sign on that line and they give away their DEA registration,” Ron says.
“The loss of a DEA registration is catastrophic for a physician. You’ll lose board privileges, the ability to be on a hospital panel, to be able to see patients at a hospital. It may lead to the loss of state licensure. It’ll be reported for a lifetime on the National Practitioners Data Bank.
“And unfortunately, the only thing we can do once a doctor does that is file an injunction in federal court, which [Chapman Law Group] has done and we’ve won many times, but it’s a very costly and time-consuming process.”
On the podcast, Ron also reviews the roles of DEA agents and diversion investigators, how they team up with local law enforcement teams on raids, and how they identify “red flags.”
For example, if a pain management physician prescribes more pain medication (such as Oxycodone and Dilaudid) than any other doctors in their state, the DEA will come knocking.
Ron says that in his experience, pain management physicians typically circumvent DEA scrutiny by putting up a self-imposed limitation on pain management procedures and prescriptions for patients.
“And that’s why a lot of pain patients aren’t getting the care that they need and deserve, because physicians are cutting themselves off on treating patients,” he says.
“We call it ‘squeezing the balloon,’ where one provider is raided, you sort of squeeze the balloon, and then all those patients go to another provider, the DEA raids them, and then it continues on. And many physicians are wise to this fact … so they simply don’t want to touch the patients.”
But, Ron added, there can be justice for physicians who do treat those patients. He brings up a case he and fellow Chapman Law Group attorney Robert J. Andretz helmed, where Caro, Michigan-based physician Joseph E. Oesterling, M.D., was accused of running a “pill mill.”
Although Oesterling was acquitted, the government refused to release property and money they seized during its investigation. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in Oesterling’s favor, returning some $6 million in assets to him.
Ron noted that since Oesterling’s case, that particular prosecutor’s office has not prosecuted a single doctor’s office.
“The moral of the story is, when we get these doctors defenses, and we whip government around the courtroom, we will impact change,” Ron told The Daily Addict. “They will stop overzealously going after doctors who are just trying to treat their patients.”
Other things discussed on this edition of The Daily Addict include:
Claudia Merandi runs the Don’t Punish Pain Rally, for which Chapman Law Group is a proud sponsor. Don’t Punish Pain Rally advocates for patients who live with chronic pain and seeks to educate the public about “the neglectful treatment of chronic pain patients due to the unwarranted enforcement of the CDC’s flawed guidelines” for prescribing opioid pain medication.
Daily Addict describes itself as a podcast “that covers the problems caused when the government wants to enforce drug laws on certain drugs. Creating a criminal class that cannot escape the stigma and persecution of this failed war on drugs. We seek truth and relate to the addiction community and the pain community. Both of which are under attack!”
The national healthcare attorneys at Chapman Law Group have provided onsite assistance to DEA registrants across the U.S. to ensure their rights and practice are protected.
Our attorneys serve healthcare professionals throughout the U.S.: in Michigan (including Detroit, Dearborn, Troy, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids), Florida (Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach), and nationally in regions including Los Angeles and Southern California, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C.
We represent licensed medical professionals, including:
The government claimed that property taken from Dr. Joseph Oesterling was derived from illegal activity, but the appellate court struck the argument down.
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,
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