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Lubell Rosen Win! Pill mill doctors, investor found not guilty on all charges

A federal jury in its third day of deliberations acquitted three doctors and one investor Thursday on charges they were involved in a multimillion-dollar pill mill.

Todd Perla, Marc Tafflin and Anthony Posca were accused of writing thousands of prescriptions for oxycodone as part of a scheme that made millions for the three pain clinics where they worked in Jacksonville. Jason Votrobek, an investor in one of the clinics, also was on trial.

Perla, Tafflin and Votrobek faced charges of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute controlled substances and money laundering. Posca faced the same controlled substance charge but was not indicted for money laundering.

“They were practicing medicine,” Posca’s attorney, Bernard Cassidy, said of the three doctors. “And the government couldn’t prove otherwise.” Read More...

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Pharmacy – The Next Wave of Enforcement

The first wave of enforcement in the quest by the State of Florida and the DEA to alleviate the problem of prescription drug abuse has focused largely on physicians.  Now, although the physician “pill mill” problem still receives a lot of attention, the State and DEA (while not doing victory laps yet) have cut substantially into the problem. Either by stopping or scaring out of business a large number of rouge pain management practices.

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Court Issues Preliminary Injunction in Physician Gun Gag Law Case

In 2011, the Florida Legislature passed a law which prohibited physicians from inquiring into gun ownership. The law, “Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act”  Fla. Stats. §§ 790.338, 381.026, 456.072, 395.1055).  Under the law, licensed health care practitioners  may not (i) intentionally record any disclosed information concerning firearm ownership in a patient’s medical record if the practitioner knows the information is not relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others (the “record-keeping provision”); (ii) ask a patient whether she owns a firearm unless the practitioner in good faith believes the information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others (the “inquiry restrictionprovision”); (iii) discriminate against a patient based solely on firearm ownership. or (iv) unnecessarily harass a patient about firearm ownership.

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New Crimes Related To the Prescribing Of Controlled Substances Effective July 1, 2011 – Physicians

Amendments to the controlled substance laws related to the Florida Controlled Substance Act and Pain Management Clinic Act take effect July 1, 2011.  The law contains a number of criminal provisions related to the practice of medicine and osteopathy which practitioners should be aware of, including:

 Florida Statutes, §458.327 and 459.013 which contain penalties for violations of the medical and osteopathic licensing acts now include a third degree felony for the dispensing of controlled substances in schedules II and III by dispensing practitioners:

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State Goes After Doctor; Doctor Sues State

An Illinois doctor, lost his medical license in 2010 following investigations by state and DEA officials into his pain management practice.  Dubbed by the press Dr. Millionpills due to DEA testimony that the physician dispensed a million pills in a year, the doctor lost his license based upon allegations of overprescribing oxycodone and other controlled substances.   Now that doctor is suing the State of Illinois in what his law firm’s press release is calling a groundbreaking case challenging current enforcement efforts by the State of Illinois and the DEA.

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Florida Legislative Session 2011 – New Controlled Substance Prescribing Law – F.S. 456.44

In connection with new legislation relating to the treatment of chronic pain, the State of Florida has made notable changes to the law relating to the prescribing of controlled substances. The new statute generally now makes as law standards for prescribing that includes what were formerly administrative code provisions.

First, the definition of chronic pain has been changed somewhat. Previously, chronic pain was defined as “a pain state which is persistent.” Now, there is also a statutory definition of “Chronic nonmalignant pain” which means pain unrelated to cancer or rheumatoid arthritis which persists beyond the usual course of disease or the injury that is the cause of the pain or more than 90 days after surgery.

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Florida 2011 Legislative Session Review – New Discipline For Prescribing Violations

The 2011 legislative session brought about a number of changes that will affect physicians and health care entities.  Physicians and managers of health care related businesses should keep apprised of changes in the law as those changes may substantially affect the proviison of health care in the State of Florida.

In connection with a new law related to pain management, the Florida legislature has made the results of controlled substance prescribing violations  much more severe.  Any violation of the medical practice act which relates to the prescribing of controlled substances now wil result in at least a six month suspension.

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Legislation Proposes That All Non Physician Owned Practices Be Licensed

In 2004, the legislature in Floirda, to address fraud related to the Medicaid program and Personal Injury Protection (PIP), required entities not owned by physicians to be licensed by the Agency For Health Care Administration. One part of that provision required an entity to registrer and be licensed if the entity “tenders charges for reimbursement.” The statute, by that term, excluded entities that did not submit claims to insurers or other payers but charged patients directly. This includes weight loss centers, medical spas, rejuvenation clinics and, at the time, pain management clinics.

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Hospital or High School? It is often hard to tell.

In our practice of representing physicians, we are often asked to defend a doctor before the medical executive committee.  The reasons for the meetings are all across the spectrum:  standard of care, economics, emergency room coverage . . . the list is endless. Despite the diversity in issues, there is one common theme–having enemies at the hospital or being in the wrong clique will hurt you.  Although many of us graduated high school long ago, the cliques remain the same at work.  The politics of a hospital are no different.  For a physician in private practice, a hospital is major source of work and rocking the boat will be a detriment to your professional success.

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Extra Caution for Doctors with Medical Licenses in multiple states

A couple of years ago, I was helping a physician with medical licenses in Florida and California.  The doctor had initially practiced for several years in California, and eventually moved his practice to Florida.  After practicing in Florida for a couple of years, this physician had a patient issue which ultimately turned into an administrative complaint before Florida’s Board of Medicine.  A settlement was reached and the doctor paid a nominal fine.

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