By George F. Indest, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
A Winter Park, Florida, doctor pleaded no contest on February 11, 2012, to a racketeering charge. The charge stems from his arrest in a pill-mill probe in June 2010. The doctor’s arrest was one of the first in the Central Florida area relating to improper prescribing practices.
Click here to see the complaint against the doctor.
Since the doctor’s arrest, Florida law enforcement including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI) and the Department of Health (DOH) have been cracking down on physicians, pharmacists and all health care providers suspected of overprescribing.
Doctor Accused of Prescribing to Undercover Agents.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the MBI received a number of tips about the doctor’s alleged overprescribing practices. The MBI sent two undercover agents into the doctor’s office. Authorities say during each visit the doctor would write prescriptions for painkillers and muscle relaxers without a medical reason.
Click here to read the entire article from the Orlando Sentinel.
Defense Gets Sentence Reduced.
Originally, the doctor was charged under the state’s prescription drug-trafficking law, which is a first-degree felony that comes with a potential 25-year prison sentence. However, the doctor’s defense tried to argue the physician-specific statute (section 893.13, Florida Statutes) to fight the accusations and reduce the doctor’s sentence to a third-degree felony. In this case, a judge denied that motion.
On February 11, 2013, the state modified the charges against the doctor to racketeering. He pleaded no contest and faces 15 years of probation. The doctor will be sentenced on February 27, 2013. Be sure to check our blog for updates on this story.
To read more on section 893.13, Florida Statutes and how attorneys are using it to defend doctors accused of overprescribing, click here.
Legal Tips for Physicians to Manage Pain Patients.
I have represented a number of physicians who have been accused of “overprescribing.” Some of these were criminal investigations by local law enforcement authorities, such as a county sheriff’s office. Some were investigations by the DEA. Some were investigations by the state licensing agency (in this case, the DOH).
To avoid any legal actions altogether, I advise my physician clients to follow a simple list of suggestions in order to protect themselves from drug-seeking patients. Click here to view the list.
Also, it is important to remember criminal charges against a health care professional can have serious consequences. To learn more on the impact a criminal charge can have on a Florida licensed health professional, click here to read a blog I previously wrote.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.
The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, pain management doctors, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
What do you think of the racketeering charge? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
Pavuk, Amy. “Doctor Arrested in Pill-Mill Probe Pleads No Contest to Racketeering.” Orlando Sentinel. (February 7, 2013). From: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-02-07/news/os-doctor-michael-moyer-plea-20130207_1_pill-mill-probe-michael-moyer-prison-term
Department of Health v. Michael Moyer, M.D. Case Number 2010-09934. Administrative Complaint. (October 14, 2011). From: https://www.thehealthlawfirm.com/uploads/DOH%20v.%20Moyer.pdf
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.
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