Insurance Fraud NEWS
California doc suspected of peddling pills without exams
January 10, 2019, Marin, CA
The California medical board is taking action against a Marin physician indicted on federal drug charges in Pennsylvania.
Paul Michael Hoover is charged with 15 counts alleging oxycodone distribution; conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, methadone and oxycodone; conspiracy to commit health care fraud; and conspiracy to launder money.
His girlfriend and office assistant, Marcia Ramsier Arthurs, was indicted on the same counts. The couple was indicted by a grand jury in Pittsburgh.
Authorities allege the couple traveled from their Novato home to western Pennsylvania every three months to write illicit prescriptions for highly addictive opiates, according to court filings. They maintained a bare-bones office in Coraopolis, a small borough near Pittsburgh International Airport.
Hoover allegedly saw up to 60 people a day, accepting cash or money orders to write oxycodone prescriptions with little or no medical evaluation, prosecutors said. He allegedly charged up to $700 per office visit, offering higher dosages for extra pay.
Arthurs, who is not a doctor, sometimes wrote prescriptions herself and authorized dosage increases, prosecutors said. She also allegedly processed paperwork for fraudulent Medicare and Medicare claims.
The couple allegedly concealed the cash in safes, deposit boxes and bank accounts held by fictitious companies.
Based on the Medicare and Medicaid claims alone, investigators estimate that the couple illegally distributed nearly 170,000 oxycodone pills with a street value of nearly $1 million. The actual amounts from the overall conspiracy could be double that, prosecutors said.
The alleged crimes occurred from March 2015 to June 2018. The couple was indicted on July 17. Hoover’s age was listed as 57 and Arthurs’ as 60.
Both defendants have pleaded not guilty. Hoover remains in custody. Arthurs is free on a bond pending the outcome of the case.
Their defense attorneys declined to comment.
The one charge of health care fraud has a sentencing range of up to 10 years. For the other 14 counts, the maximum is 20 years.
Last week, the California medical board announced it had filed a petition to revoke or suspend Hoover’s license because of the Pennsylvania indictment. A hearing is pending.
Hoover has been licensed in California since 2013. He went to medical school at Loyola University of Chicago, according to the medical board.
Pennsylvania’s medical board suspended Hoover’s license in July. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that he was a pain specialist for many years in Beaver, Pennsylvania, before moving to California.
Source: Marin Independent Journal