By George F. Indest, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
A Lake Mary, Florida, pain management doctor was ordered by a judge to spend 25 years in prison and to pay a $500,000 fine. Dr. Ronald Lynch, who operated Integrated Medicine, was sentenced on April 15, 2013, for charges of drug trafficking, according to the Florida Office of the Attorney General (AG).
Click here to read a press release from the AG.
Writing Prescriptions with a Revoked Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Number.
According to the AG, a tip from a Walgreens Pharmacy initially sparked the investigation of Dr. Lynch. The pharmacy alerted the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office that the doctor was writing prescriptions with a revoked Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number. Dr. Lynch’s DEA number was allegedly revoked after the DEA determined that he had written an excessive number of pain prescriptions to people over the internet.
Multiple Agencies Investigated the Doctor.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, an investigation by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department, the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement led to the arrest of Dr. Lynch in 2011. On January 15, 2013, the doctor was found guilty of trafficking oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine, all first-degree felonies.
The doctor’s attorney says his client did not realize the DEA had revoked his right to write prescriptions for controlled pain medication.
To read the entire article from the Orlando Sentinel, click here.
Protecting Your Business and License.
Local law enforcement is working hard to crack down on the prescription drug epidemic in Florida. This alone should be a warning to health care professionals to pay close attention to patients who request pain medication. Being proactive about prescription management can also deter lawsuits or help in doctors’ defense if they are sued. Physicians must make sure their records meet all requirements of state laws and regulations. In cases where a patient has been “doctor-shopping” in order to abuse pain pills, we see state disciplinary investigations initiated against each physician who prescribed that individual medication. In most cases, these physicians were unaware of the other prescribers. Disciplinary actions such as these can often be defended when the physician has taken the proper safeguards.
Click here to read legal tips for physicians to manage pain patients.
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 doctor’s sentence? Do you think it is too harsh? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
Stutzman, Rene. “Lake Mary Pain Doctor Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison.” Orlando Sentinel. (April 15, 2013). From: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-lake-mary-pain-doc-prison-20130415,0,397783.story
Meale, Jenn. “Lake Mary ‘Pill-Mill’ Doctor Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison and $500,000 Fine.” Florida Office of the Attorney General. From: http://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/E4690A5286FB378585257B4E0062A595
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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