Alabama pain clinic owners convicted of $50M healthcare fraud, illegal opioid distribution

A federal jury has found two pain clinic owners, a Tennessee physician and his wife, guilty of defrauding insurers, providing unnecessary services and illegally distributing opioids, the Justice Department said March 2.

Mark Murphy, MD, and Jennifer Murphy, both 65 years old, own and operated North Alabama Pain Services in Decatur and Madison, Ala. They defrauded Medicare, Tricare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and other insurers of more than $50 million, according to court documents.

The couple sought and received illegal payments for referring fraudulent or unnecessary services to patients, the Justice Department said. Ms. Murphy was also convicted of tax-related charges for underreporting the clinics' income.

The Murphys issued presigned prescriptions to thousands of patients each month in the five-year period leading to the 2017 closure of their Alabama offices. Some of the prescriptions had no legitimate medical purpose, while others were written outside the usual course of professional practice, the Justice Department said.

The couple face a maximum of 20 years in prison for the drug charges, a 10-year maximum for the healthcare fraud charges, a five-year maximum for Anti-Kickback Statute violations, and Ms. Murphy faces a three-year maximum for tax charges. Each charge could result in less prison time than the maximums.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 30.

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