A nurse practitioner whose New Hampshire pain clinic wrote hundreds of opioid painkiller prescriptions for Medicare beneficiaries in “drive-by” office visits has pleaded guilty to charges of health care and prescription fraud, federal officials announced.
New Hampshire U.S. Attorney Scott Murray said that Kristen Khanna, the operator of Total Pain Care and Wellness of Salem, New Hampshire, allowed a non-professional office worker to write opioid prescriptions to Medicare beneficiaries.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s announcement, Ms. Khanna left the office employee with a pad of blank prescription forms that she signed. The employee would then fill them out and give them to Medicare patients in the brief visits. Ms. Khanna also billed Medicare for these services as if she and not the office employee provided them.
“Had Medicare known that the employee, and not Khanna, had completed and issued these prescriptions, it would not have paid for them,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
Additionally, Ms. Khanna provided a patient covered by private insurance with pre-signed but otherwise blank prescriptions that the patient used to fill as she pleased. The patient completed the prescriptions and took them to local pharmacies to be filled. Federal prosecutors said the patient used the fraudulent prescriptions to obtain Adderall and the opioid painkillers Oxycontin and Percocet.
Ms. Khanna is scheduled to be sentenced in January. She has agreed to pay more than $127,000 in restitution to Medicare, surrender her Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license, and refrain from seeking a new license for 10 years. She will also be barred from participating in the Medicare program for at least five years.
“The battle against opioids is being waged on numerous fronts,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “One sad reality is that there are health care providers who have contributed to the opioid crisis by engaging in illegal conduct.”