Detroit Healthcare Fraud unit has revealed that it aggressively charges healthcare practices on the basis of statistics rather than actual patient care

19 Detroit Healthcare Professionals Indicted for Unlawful Prescribing

The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan indicted nineteen healthcare professionals today, June 11, 2020. See Indictment Below.

United States v. Rankinpdf

The indictment alleges that between September 2017 and June 2020 the Defendants engaged in a scheme involving the unlawful distribution of opioids. The indictment alleges that the conspiracy was between medical clinics, rehab centers and pharmacies involving nearly two million controlled substances of a value of over $41 million. The Indictment alleges over forty-four independent violations of 21 U.S.C. 841(a) and it also alleges that the nineteen defendants engaged in a conspiracy to violate 21 U.S.C. 846 – controlled substance conspiracy. The indictment was issued by Detroit’s Healthcare Fraud Unit and will be prosecuted by Brandy McMillion and Mitra Jafary-Hariri, two federal prosecutors in that division. The Detroit Healthcare Fraud Unit is very experienced at prosecuting healthcare fraud and opioid trafficking cases.

All defendants are innocent until proven guilty and prior experience with the Detroit Healthcare Fraud unit has revealed that it aggressively charges healthcare practices on the basis of statistics rather than actual patient care. This practice is a new tactic by the DOJ and can lead to charging errors and unnecessary government scrutiny.

In order to convict health professional for unlawful distribution of controlled substances (sometimes referred to as running a pill mill) the Government must prove that the physicians prescribed controlled substances for “other than a legitimate medical purpose and outside the course of professional practice”. This is a very difficult standard to meet. The Government must show that prescriptions were not for pain but rather in order to achieve some other unlawful purpose.

To Learn More About the Standard See Our Resources Page Here

To Learn More About the History of the Controlled Substance Act Click Here

Defense of unlawful distribution charges requires a focused defense that highlights the patient care provided to each individual patient and knowledge of Federal Drug Laws, CDC Guidelines for Prescribing, and the standards of practice for pain management (ASIPP, ASAM, etc.). As this case progresses, there are sure to be a significant number of Michigan pain patients separated from their provider. Often, prosecutors and the DEA fail to consider this fact because they believe that all prescriptions issued in such a practice are unlawful.

To Learn More About Government Prosecution Tricks Click Here

Before agreeing to any plea to unlawful distribution, a physician must consult with an experienced healthcare defense attorney who understands the law, medicine, and applicable standards. If you are a provider facing Government scrutiny read this before considering a plea of guilty.

The case is pending before Judge Bernard Friedman and Magistrate David R. Grand. More updates to follow.

Ronald W. Chapman II@RonChapmanAtty is a healthcare defense attorney and specializes in representing physicians and other health professional in government investigations and indictments related to the practice of medicine. He speaks nationally on the topic and has appeared in national publications. He obtains frequent victories for his clients facing government scrutiny.

In reading the court papers the actual total of oral doses was 1,951,148 and out of the 19 charged – 6 had the legal right to prescribe.   The actual time frame involved is ab 34 months ( Sept 2017 – June 2020).

According to this.. it would appear that no pt records were reviewed, no pts had any in person physical exam.. this is a statistical conclusion of guilty. The charges were determined by a GRAND JURY.. and it is claimed that our GRAND JURY system is so designed that if a prosecutor wanted to get a “ham sandwich” charged… it would be quite possible.  As I understand our GRAND JURY system.. only the prosecutor presents “the facts” to the GRAND JURY from which the final conclusion/charges are reached.

The law suit only mentions the strengths of Oxycodone 30 mg and Oxymorphone 40 mg… the first is available as a IR & ER in that strength and the latter is only available as a ER.

So these 6 prescribers collectively – on average – prescribed 57,387 doses/month over the 34 month period.

Meaning that – on average – each prescriber wrote for 9,654 doses/month

Using dosing averages that would represent best practices and standard of care for chronic pain pts..  each prescriber would have 46 pts/month

Looking at 5 day work week.. each prescriber – on average – would be writing prescriptions for abt 9 pts/day.

The typical prescriber will see upwards of 30 pts in any given day.  So these numbers would suggest that LESS THAN 1/3 of the pt office visit would result in a opiate Rx written.  This doesn’t seem to describe what is typically described as what is a “pill mill”

These conclusions are based on averages and what information that was provided in the lawsuit… which there is a link to the *.pdf on the above link to the original article.


One Response

  1. They really want that pharm suit money. I think all efforts must be directed directly at the DOJ/AG and the President. Enough of this State’s Rep stuff. They (the DOJ/AG, President) are either not hearing us or or do not want to hear us. Everyone is running because of the DOJ/AG. Not the CDC, NOT the DEA, …the DOJ/AG.

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