Ohio State and Feds Collaborate to Combat Prescription Fraud

Akron, Ohio physician, Adolph Harper, and three of his employees were indicted for illegally prescribing hundreds of thousands of doses of prescription painkillers and anti-anxiety medications (OxyContin®, Percocet®, Roxicet®, Opana®, methadone, and others) from 2009-2012. The prescriptions were for no legitimate medical purposes, and Harper allegedly continued to write prescriptions to “patients” even after several died of drug overdoses.

Harper would write prescriptions to his “patients” who presented to his office with clear signs of drug addiction. Often he did not examine “patients” or even see them at all, but would write a prescription, according to the indictment. When Harper was not in the office, a staff member would write out prescriptions on Harper’s prescription pad to his “patients.”

“The charges describe a defendant who is simply a drug dealer with a stethoscope who happens to work from a medical office instead of a street corner,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven M. Dettelbach. “His actions destroyed families and lives.”

Harper’s charges go beyond drug distribution; he also is being charged with health insurance fraud. According to a March 26 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Ohio, the insurance fraud was specifically for:

  1. Submitting insurance claims for services using a higher billing code than the service justified;
  2. Submitting insurance claims for unperformed services;
  3. Billing an insurance provider for a service after collecting a cash payment for the same service; and
  4. Causing the submission of insurance claims for “prescriptions” for controlled substances that were issued outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.

Cleveland’s Resident Agent in Charge of Drug Enforcement Administration Geno Corley said, “This case was initiated by the Akron Police Department and investigated by FBI, Health and Human Services with assistance from the DEA Cleveland Resident Office, Ohio State Board of Pharmacy and the State of Ohio Medical Board,” according to the press release.

“This is great example of how state and federal collaboration can work to combat prescription drug abuse,” said Kyle Parker, executive director of the Ohio State Pharmacy Board.

Source: March 26 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Ohio, “Akron Physician And Three Employees Indicted For Illegally Prescribing Hundreds Of Thousands Of Painkillers And Other Pills”

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Michelle Dick
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Michelle Dick

Executive Editor at AAPC
Michelle A. Dick has been executive editor for AAPC for over seven years. Prior to her work at AAPC, she was editor-in-chief at Eli Research and Element K Journals, and disk ad coordinator, web designer/developer, and graphic artist at White Directory Publishers, Inc. Dick has a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from the State University of New York - Buffalo State and is a member of the Flower City Professional Coders in Rochester, N.Y.
Michelle Dick
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Michelle A. Dick has been executive editor for AAPC for over seven years. Prior to her work at AAPC, she was editor-in-chief at Eli Research and Element K Journals, and disk ad coordinator, web designer/developer, and graphic artist at White Directory Publishers, Inc. Dick has a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from the State University of New York - Buffalo State and is a member of the Flower City Professional Coders in Rochester, N.Y.

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