South Florida Pill Mill Shut Down

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A Plantation-Florida based pain clinic was shut down and eight employees were arrested in connection to the alleged overdose deaths of eight former patients. The clinic, known as Real Care Medical clinic, is alleged to have issued prescriptions for alprazolam, oxycodone and methadone without medical necessity in 2010, resulting in the fatal overdoses of eight individuals.
 
 
Pain Clinic Purchased Nearly Half a Million Oxycodone Pills.

According to a report by the Sun Sentinel, Real Care Medical Group or its physicians purchased 437,880 pills of oxycodone during a six month period in 2010. This is compared to the average of 76,761 pills purchased by 533 various practitioners in Florida within the same time frame. Undercover DEA agents who posed as patients allegedly purchased oxycodone on multiple occasions without ever receiving a medical examination or a review of medical forms. The physician's office inside the pain clinic reportedly did not even have an examination table. The clinic was shut down by 2011.
 
According to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, the maximum sentences for those involved in the operation of the pill mill range from 60 to 180 years in prison each.


Central Florida Involvement.


Eight alleged co-conspirators associated with the clinic were charged with racketeering, conspiring racketeering and manslaughter, including a man from Altamonte Springs and a man from Kissimmee. The owners of Real Care Medical Group are reported to have operated three other clinics in Florida: Central Florida Wellness Clinic in Orlando, Liberty Medical Group in Jacksonville and Rapid Treatment Solutions in Boynton Beach. The four clinics made more than $3 million within the span of 27 months, according to DEA agent Kevin Stanfill.


DEA Crackdown.

The pill mill bust is part of a five year investigation known as "Operation Pill Nation." DEA agents worked with the Attorney General's Office and Broward Sheriff's Office to investigate 64 other South Florida pain clinics. While undercover, the agents stated that they overheard patients in the waiting room of Real Care Medical Clinic discussing how far they had traveled to the clinic, drug prices and illegal drugs. According to the arrest affidavit, the clinic's staff warned patients not to talk about drugs due to the possibility of being overheard by law enforcement. Officials say clinic owners knew that patients had died from overdoses and continued to prescribe medication. South Florida was considered the pill mill capital of the United States in 2010, with 98 of the top 100 oxycodone dispensers located in the state of Florida. To see a prior blog I wrote on the steps pain management physicians can take to stay out of trouble, click here.


Comments?

What do you think about the war on prescription drugs in Florida? As a pharmacist, how do you verify that prescriptions you receive are legitimate? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
 
 
Contact a Health Law Attorney Experienced in DEA Cases.

At the Health Law Firm, we provide legal services for all health care providers and professionals. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, durable medical equipment suppliers (DME), medical students and interns, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, pain management clinics, nursing homes, and any other health care provider. We defend pain management physicians, clinics and pharmacists in state license investigations, in administrative hearings, and in DEA actions. The services we provide include reviewing and negotiating contracts, preparing contracts, helping employers and employees enforce contracts, advice on setting aside or voiding contracts, litigation of contracts (in start or federal court), business transactions, professional license defense, opinion letters, representation in investigations, fair hearing defense, representation in peer review and clinical privileges hearings, litigation of restrictive covenant (covenants not to compete), Medicare and Medicaid audits, commercial litigation, and administrative hearings.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Sources:

"Eight Charged in Pill Mill Probe." Legislative Action Center. (May 28, 2015). From:
 
http://cqrcengage.com/ipcrx/app/document/7938657

Ray, Whitney. "Florida Pill Mill Doctors and Clinic Owners Charged with Racketeering and Eight Counts of Manslaughter." Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release. (May 27, 2015). From:
 
http://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/AE04C87B36D35A6E85257E52006B1196


About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.


KeyWords: Health law, health law attorney, health care lawyer, pill mill, doctor, pharmacist, defense attorney, pain management lawyer, license defense attorney, legal counsel, administrative hearing attorney, DEA defense attorney, board of medicine attorney, board of pharmacy attorney, Department of Health investigations, pain clinics, overprescribing, pain management, Florida prescription drug crackdown, Florida prescription drug abuse, prescription drug trafficking, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), DEA investigation, The Health Law Firm reviews
 
"The Health Law Firm" is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. - The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999. 
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6/9/2015

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