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opioids 32 articles

Georgia Hospital Settles False Claims Act Suit, Agrees to Pay $5 Million

A North Georgia hospital will pay $5 million to settle allegations it violated the False Claims Act by engaging in improper financial relationships with referring physicians. Union General Hospital of Blairsville, Georgia, fell under scrutiny when federal authorities detected suspicious activity surrounding the abnormally high quantities of opioid drugs and Xanax being prescribed in connection with the hospital. Investigations by the FBI and other federal agencies led to the arrest of Union General Hospital CEO John Michael Gowder and two physicians — Dr. David Gowder and Dr. James Heaton. The three men now face federal charges of illegally prescribing thousands ... Read More

Pediatric Opioid Deaths Tripled Over Last Two Decades

When it comes to the lives of children, prescription opioids have a lot in common with loaded guns. Both opioids and guns in the home pose a serious risk of injury and death to children and teens, and both are responsible for hundreds of accidental deaths every year. But unlike weapons, prescription opioid drugs in the home are a relatively new threat, and a new Yale analysis of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows how big the problem has grown. The study’s authors, from the Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, found that opioid overdose ... Read More

Opioid package passes Senate in latest push to fight U.S. opioid epidemic

The Senate voted almost unanimously voted to pass a sweeping opioid package intended to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic, with provisions to prevent illegal drug shipments from entering the United States, encourage innovative research on pain treatments, extend support for those seeking substance abuse, and provide help for babies born addicted to opioids. The package overwhelmingly passed the House at the end of September. The legislation will now be sent to the White House, providing lawmakers fodder just ahead of the November midterm elections. The bill includes legislation developed by dozens of lawmakers – a rare bipartisan response to the ... Read More

New Opioid Fraud Lawsuits Say Medical Groups Contributed to Crisis

A number of communities in Cook County, Illinois, are taking opioid manufacturers and distributors to court for their role in fueling the deadly opioid epidemic sweeping across the U.S. Now three more Chicago-area towns have joined the fray, but adding three medical societies as defendants in addition to the usual defendants for their alleged contributions to the opioid epidemic. According to the Cook County Record, the towns of Bedford Park, Lyons, and Summit filed lawsuits last week in Cook County Circuit Court. Though filed separately, the complaints each name as defendants Purdue Pharma; Abbott Laboratories; Teva Pharmaceuticals; Cephalon, Johnson & ... Read More

Feds Aim To Slash Opioid Production Again in 2019

From opioid production to prescription, fraud has played a key role in the opioid crisis sweeping the United States. Federal authorities have taken measures in recent years to quell the growing problem, including pursuing legal action against doctors, pharmacies, and distributors who for years have unlawfully pedaled prescription opioids for years with impunity. But on Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department announced it plans to further strike at the root of the crisis by reducing the supply of opioids, a measure that would involve limiting the amount of opioid painkillers pharmaceutical companies can manufacture next year by about 10 percent. The ... Read More

Opioid Use Disorder Quadruples Among Pregnant Women

Opioid use disorder (OUD) in pregnant women remains a serious concern among public health officials, who continue to fight fraud and abuse associated with the potent painkillers. Now a new study shows that the number of pregnant women with opioid abuse disorder more than quadrupled between 1999 and 2014. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the alarming trend, published Aug. 9 in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, was measured in pregnant mothers at the time of labor and delivery. Researchers used medical data from the 28 states that keep the records relevant to the ... Read More

Feds Dismantle Opioid Distribution Center and Southern Pill Mills

Federal prosecutors said they have taken down the operators of a health care fraud and opioid trafficking and distribution operation that stretched from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Rome, Italy and contributed to the deaths of about 700 people. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said indictments were unsealed Jan. 4 charging two Italian citizens and five American citizens for their roles in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) conspiracy and opioid drug trafficking conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone, oxymorphone, and morphine outside the scope of professional practice and not for legitimate medical purposes. The DOJ says that the defendants ran ... Read More

Doctor Faces False Claims Act charges of Medicaid Fraud

Connecticut initiated a False Claims Act lawsuit against a Norwalk doctor and his practice, alleging they defrauded the state’s Medicaid program out of thousands of dollars by billing it for services that were never performed. “The audacity of the alleged fraudulent conduct in this case is astounding,” said Attorney General George Jepsen. “In one case, this provider billed Medicaid for at least 500 visits to a particular patient that never happened, receiving $80,000 in taxpayer dollars for services never rendered, and at the same time, sought to receive Medicaid benefits himself. “ The state’s False Claims Act lawsuit alleges that ... Read More

Teen Crashes Car Into Indiana Home, Killing Two Sisters

Clinton County Indiana authorities arrested a 17-year-old girl after her car crashed through a home near Frankfort, Indiana, killing two girls inside watching television and seriously injuring their mother. According to FOX 59 Indianapolis, 17-year-old Haleigh and 9-year-old Callie Fullerton were in the living room of their home when a car traveling 80 mph left the road and slammed into the house. Both girls were killed on impact. The girls’ mother, Bridget Fullerton, 37, was walking into the living room when the car crashed into the home about 9:30 p.m. July 12. She was flown to an Indianapolis-area hospital for ... Read More

‘Largest-Ever’ Health care Fraud Sweep Results in 400-Plus Arrests

A massive federal crackdown on health care fraud has resulted in charges against more than 400 people nationwide, and prosecutors allege their false billings to the government have cost taxpayers about $1.3 billion. U.S. officials said Thursday the takedown was the “largest ever health care fraud enforcement action” by the Medicare Strike Force. It involved more than a thousand law enforcement agents arresting 412 individuals in 30 states. About a quarter of those currently facing health care fraud charges from the action are doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. While the health care fraud sweep could return some funds to ... Read More