Prescribing via Facebook, illegal billing & more: 5 charges in Kentucky opioid crackdown

Five medical professionals in Kentucky's Eastern District were charged in connection to schemes involving healthcare fraud and the illegal distribution of controlled substances, according to the Department of Justice.

The charges were part of a massive U.S. crackdown on unlawful billing and prescribing practices. Altogether, 10 people in Kentucky and 60 across the country are facing charges related to the federal government's Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force Takedown.

Five charges in Kentucky's Western District:

1. A physician was charged for allegedly prescribed opioids to Facebook friends who picked them up from his home. The physician allegedly signed prescriptions for people who sent requests to his office manager via Facebook messenger.

2. The aforementioned office manager is accused of receiving cash payments in exchange for the signed prescriptions.

3. A physician operating a pain management clinic allegedly gave office staff pre-signed, blank prescriptions, enabling them to prescribe controlled substances when he wasn't in the office.

4. The independent operator of a five-clinic family pain management practice allegedly billed Medicare for urine testing that wasn't performed. The practitioner was also accused of illegally billing Medicare for urine testing.

5. A dentist was charged for allegedly providing a myriad of unnecessary services — including tooth removal, follow-up appointments and opioid prescriptions — and billing inappropriately for services.

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