Physician facing 45 charges for alleged pill mill & fraud scheme — 7 insights

Pastor and pain clinic physician Samson Orusa, MD, allegedly devised and participated in a massive opioid distribution and healthcare fraud scheme stretching back to 2014, according to a 45-count federal indictment unsealed Dec. 13.

Here's what you should know:

1. Federal agents arrested Dr. Orusa Dec. 13, but he was released with an ankle bracelet and passport surrender, the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle reports. The charges against him include maintaining a drug-involved premises, 22 counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance outside the bounds of professional medical practice, 13 counts of healthcare fraud and nine counts of money laundering.

2. The indictment alleges Dr. Orusa opened and operated a Clarksville, Tenn.-based medical practice for the purpose of illegally distributing controlled substances, including oxycodone.

3. Dr. Orusa is also accused of devising and participating in a scheme to defraud health insurance companies by engaging in upcoding, offering misleading information about the services performed, submitting claims for medically unnecessary services, causing claims to be submitted for prescriptions issued illegally and diverting the resulting proceeds.

3. As part of the alleged scheme, Dr. Orusa is accused of having seen upwards of 50 patients a day and requiring insured patients to visit his office four to six times a month, in order to increase and inflate reimbursement claims. He is accused of threatening to withhold pain management prescriptions from insured patients who refused to accept injections.

Dr. Orusa is also accused of conducting financial transactions to disguise the illegal activity, transferring the illegal proceeds to foreign bank accounts, using the money to make a down payment of more than $12,000 on a Mercedes-Benz and writing a check to purchase $100,000 in securities.

4. Dr. Orusa allegedly prescribed oxycodone to high-risk patients, as well as individuals with questionable and falsified drug screens. The indictment alleges he wrote approximately 2,494 prescriptions for Schedule 2 controlled substances between July 1, 2018, and Aug. 21, 2018.

According to the indictment, one of Dr. Orusa's patients died in 2015, likely after ingesting a deadly drug combination, while another overdosed on heroin in Dr. Orusa's waiting room in 2018. Both events allegedly took place after Dr. Orusa prescribed the patients controlled substances without conducting proper examinations.

5. Beginning in 2014, several pharmacies in Montgomery County, Tenn., refused to honor prescriptions for controlled substances written by Dr. Orusa, according to prosecutors.
The state of Tennessee permanently revoked Dr. Orusa's pain management certificate Sept. 14, 2018, according to the indictment. The same day, he allegedly wrote 164 individual prescriptions for about 12,754 controlled substance pills.

6. If convicted, Dr. Orusa faces up to 20 years in prison on each drug-related count and up to 10 years in prison on each healthcare fraud and money laundering count.

7. Dr. Orusa is allowed to see patients but cannot write prescriptions, according to the Leaf-Chronicle. He reportedly plans to fight the charges.

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