Physician gets 12 years in prison, to pay $376K after conspiracy conviction

An Arlington, Texas-based physician was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for his role in a scheme to illegally distribute controlled substances.

A federal jury convicted Clinton Battle, MD, of distributing controlled substances and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances last July, and he was sentenced March 24 to more than a decade in federal prison. He will also pay $376,368 in restitution.

Evidence in the trial showed Dr. Battle wrote prescriptions for controlled substances that weren't medically necessary and outside the course of professional practice. Sometimes he wrote the prescriptions without conducting medical examinations, and other times office staff wrote the prescriptions based on patient preferences.

Dr. Battle also wrote prescriptions for friends and family members, according to trial evidence, even though he didn't have a physician-patient relationship with them. The Justice Department said evidence showed Dr. Battle charged fees in exchange for controlled substance prescriptions: $200 for the first visit and $80 for subsequent visits.

Finally, the Justice Department said Dr. Battle conspired to defraud workers' compensation and other health insurers by submitting claims for services as though he administered them, but instead unlicensed assistants administered the services, including physical therapy. Dr. Battle also upcoded for higher reimbursement of services.

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