Fraud, tax evasion, illegal opioids & more: Inside 3 suits against pain physicians

Patsy Newitt -

Here are three lawsuits involving pain physicians Becker's has reported on since Oct. 1:

1. A Kentucky pain physician must pay more than $567,000 in restitution for his involvement in a referral kickback scheme, according to a Nov. 23 news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania. John Baird, MD, 55, specialized in physical medicine, rehabilitation and pain treatment at his practice in Louisville, Ky. In 2018, he admitted to entering a kickback scheme with Williams Hughes, the owner and operator of Universal Oral Fluid Labs, a former clinical drug testing lab in Greensburg, Pa. Dr. Baird received money in exchange for referring patients to the lab for services. 

2. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure issued an emergency suspension order effective Oct. 23 against a physician accused of healthcare fraud and improperly distributing opioids, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. Samson Orusa, MD, said he expects to be acquitted of the 40 charges against him. Mr. Orusa was convicted by a jury in Tennessee of illegally distributing opioid pain pills, healthcare fraud, money laundering, and maintaining a medical practice for the purpose of prescribing drugs without a legitimate medical purpose.

3. Two Texas physicians agreed to pay $3.9 million to resolve allegations they submitted false claims to government insurers for medically unnecessary urine drug testing, the Justice Department said Oct. 22. Robert Wills, MD, and Brannon Frank, MD, are pain management physicians who were also the former co-owners of now-defunct Austin (Texas) Pain Associates. Dr. Wills will pay $2.1 million to settle the allegations, and Dr. Frank will pay $1.8 million.

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