March 13, 2012, 5:06 PM
Would you like to know something that can make you glad that you practice a drug- and surgery-free modality*?
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has reported that Danette M. Hawthorne, of Columbus, OH has been sentenced in U.S. District Court to 144 months in prison for distributing prescriptions for the equivalent of 11,000 doses of pain medicine without a legitimate medical need for the prescriptions and fraudulently billing a government insurance program for the drugs. Two of Hawthorne’s employees, Charlene Breedlove-Jones and Deneshia M. Wakefield, were sentenced in September 2011; Breedlove-Jones to 106 months in prison and Wakefield to five years probation and $2,195.65 in restitution to the insurance programs. Hawthorne owned two Columbus clinics, Trinity Medical Center, LLC, and Perspective Medical Solutions, Inc.
According to court documents, in June 2010 Hawthorne and Jones had a physician employed by the clinic sign numerous prescriptions for oxycodone in the hotel room where he was staying, knowing that he had not seen any of the patients for whom the prescriptions were intended. The clinics also employed no licensed physicians between August, 2010 and December, 2010. Hawthorne and Breedlove-Jones conspired to forge hundreds of physician signatures on prescriptions for pain medications and other controlled substances, using the names of physicians who had previously worked at the clinics without the physicians’ knowledge. The prescriptions were distributed to clinic patients, who subsequently had the prescriptions filled at various pharmacies throughout Ohio and neighboring states.
“The diversion and abuse of controlled prescription medications takes a toll not only the resources of the Medicaid program in terms of financial costs, but also on the public in terms of their health and well being,” said Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Region of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General which includes the State of Ohio. “The OIG will continue to work in concert with our law enforcement partners and prosecutorial authorities to protect the public and the Medicaid program.”
*See ACC Position on Chiropractic, 2012 ChiroCode DeskBook, page XXV.