Opioid Indictment Underscores Importance of Vigilant Compliance

Frier Levitt’s regulatory, transactional and criminal defense attorneys begin each day reviewing Department of Justice (DOJ) news bulletins regarding its successful enforcement activity. Later in the day, an interdepartmental meeting occurs and we analyze the potential impact of the DOJ’s investigations, indictments and convictions on our clients’ transactional documents, operations and/or regulatory analyses. Our mission is to inform our healthcare and life sciences provider clients with updates on prosecutorial investigations and related trends, and to create regulatory documents that address and mitigate the dangers of non-compliance.  

Consistent with that mission, we reviewed the news of a Boston primary care physician who was indicted in late September on charges that he asked patients to pay cash for opioid addiction treatment that was already covered by the state’s Medicaid program, then “double dipped” by seeking reimbursement from Medicaid for the same services. He is also accused of improperly coding an opioid-blocking medication in claims as chemotherapy, resulting in overpayments from Medicaid. In addition to the threat of program exclusion, the physician may incur significant civil monetary penalties and face criminal liability under the False Claims Act.

Frier Levitt has developed a Pain Management Compliance Plan for physician prescription and pharmacy dispensing of opioids, and the conduct at issue in this “double dipping” case is addressed in our compliance manual. As opioid-related healthcare investigations and prosecutions have increased, we continue to monitor regulatory and enforcement activity so that we can advise our clients and help them to mitigate their risks. 

To learn more about Frier Levitt’s opioid compliance plan, contact Frier Levitt to speak with an attorney.

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