Lenoir City Chiropractor Pays $1.45 Million for Operating Pill Mills
A Lenoir City chiropractor has paid more than $1.45 million for allegedly operating a "pill mill" in which he used Medicare and TennCare to fill prescriptions for pain killers, including opioids, that were not medically necessary.
The allegations were brought to light by a former office manager at one of Matthew Anderson's clinics who acted as a whistle blower, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The opioid epidemic has had a crushing effect on patients and families across middle Tennessee,” said Derrick Jackson, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General in Atlanta, in the release. “Pill mills like these billed medically unnecessary services to Medicare and TennCare and contributed to problems of opioid abuse and addiction.”Billing Medicare and TennCare for prescriptions and services not necessary. From 2011 through 2014, Anderson and his company, PMC LLC, were allegedly asking pharmacies to bill Medicare and TennCare for pain killers, including opioids, to be dispensed via prescriptions written from the Cookeville Center for Pain Management. The case was settled without any determination of liability, but the state and federal government found the prescriptions were not medically necessary. Anderson and PMC also managed three other pain clinics in Tennessee: Spinal Pain Solutions in Harriman; Preferred Pain Center of Grundy County in Gruetli Laager; and McMinnville Pain Relief Center. All four of the clinics are now closed. At all four, Anderson billed Medicare for office visits that should not have been reimbursable by filing false claims. He also submitted Medicare claims at the Cookeville and Harriman clinics for services provided by two nurse practitioners who were not collaborating with a physician, as required by Tennessee law, during parts of 2011 and 2012.Office manager acted as a whistle blower The state and federal government were made aware of the false claims after a former office manager at the Cookeville center filed a civil lawsuit under the False Claims Act. Under the settlement agreement, Anderson and PMC paid a total of $1,450,000, plus interest. Of that amount, the federal government will receive a little over $1 million and the state of Tennessee will receive $163,225. The office manager, who was not named in the release, will receive more than $246,500 for acting as a whistle blower and bringing the false claims to light. “In this case, a concerned whistle blower brought a civil suit which has ultimately held those responsible for the illicit prescribing of opioids and at the same time cheating the taxpayers by causing federal healthcare programs to pay for such highly addictive drugs," said David Cochran, U.S. Attorney for the middle district of Tennessee. "We will continue to give the highest priority to fighting opioid abuse on all fronts.”Join now for as low as99¢ for the 1st monthSubscribe NowAnderson and PMC will be excluded from the ability to bill federal health care programs for five years. The settlement also calls for Cindy Scott, a nurse practitioner from Nashville, to pay $32,000 and to surrender her DEA registration until October 2021. Scott is prohibited from prescribing medications until her DEA registration is renewed.“More Americans are dying because of drugs today than ever before - a trend that is being driven by opioids,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the release.“If we’re going to end this unprecedented drug crisis, which is claiming the lives of 64,000 Americans each year, doctors must stop over prescribing opioids and law enforcement must aggressively pursue those medical professionals who act in their own financial interests, at the expense of their patients’ best interests. "Today’s settlement is a positive step that will help save lives, as well as protect taxpayers’ money, in Tennessee and across the United States.”