Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger Explains How a Physician’s Prescription Writing Volume Can Trigger an Investigation

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, the nation’s opioid epidemic is causing an upsurge in investigations into physicians’ prescription practices. State medical boards are on the lookout for any behavior that might signal that a physician is running a “pill mill,” or a place that too easily and too often prescribes powerful drugs. I describe a cautionary tale regarding pill mills below.

If you are a physician and have received a certified letter from your state licensing board indicating that they are opening an investigation into your prescription writing practices, be prepared for a harrowing experience. Most physicians I have represented go through several stages of emotion when they learn that they are being investigated—terror, embarrassment, anger, and fear are all common. But I have helped hundreds of similarly situated physicians through this process and can assure you that many of these investigations, while stressful, have positive outcomes.

If you are a physician in Kansas or Missouri facing an investigation, call attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation. Do not agree to speak with an investigator without an experienced attorney by your side. Your career, reputation, and livelihood are at risk, and the challenge facing you is one you cannot navigate alone.

Prescriptions Give Rise to Investigations—A Cautionary Tale

I frequently represent physicians accused of over-prescribing drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and Fentanyl.  While it is normal for many Kansas and Missouri physicians to write prescriptions daily, given the opioid epidemic, prescriptions of these drugs and others like them are likely to trigger regulatory scrutiny. That scrutiny can easily transition into licensure issues.  I recently came across information regarding physician whose license was suspended. I won’t use his name because it has not been made public yet but can tell you a bit about his case.

The first trigger for the administrative investigation of this doctor’s behavior was that he wrote thousands of opioid prescriptions in a single year’s time. That may not seem outlandish if he was an orthopedic surgeon or ran a pain clinic and was regularly dealing with people dealing with extreme pain following surgery, but he was a psychiatrist.

The second trigger for administrative investigation was that the prescriptions written by this doctor were primarily filled in a city an hour from the doctor’s practice. This means that those wanting opioids may have been seeking him out, even though there were options for psychiatric care similar to what he offered in their city.

Third, there were irregularities in the psychiatrist’s prescription practices.  For example, many of the prescriptions were written while his clinic was closed and while he was not present in his clinic.  Obviously, that can mean that someone other than this doctor was forging his signature on prescriptions. Regardless, it indicates that there may have been a loss of control over the prescription writing process.

As I indicated above, the psychiatrist’s medical license is suspended, and his practice is closed. There may be reasonable explanations for why the triggers I listed above were present, but this sort of prescription behavior suggests that the psychiatrist may have been operating a pill mill. Situations like this one are not unusual and can often be rectified when counsel presents a vigorous, appropriate defense.

Contact an Experienced Kansas and Missouri Licensing Attorney Now

You have worked too hard to attain your medical license to lose it because you were unprepared to respond to an inquiry from the state medical board.  An inquiry from a licensing board regarding your prescription writing means that your livelihood is in jeopardy. You will need help gathering and organizing evidence, hiring expert witnesses, cross-examining witnesses, among other tasks.  Contacting an experienced licensing attorney to help you through this process and can mean the difference between getting back to helping your patients and losing your career forever.

Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger is prepared to advocate for your best interests and defend you. Call Attorney Sanger at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney experienced dealing with licensing issues.