Doctor’s offices raided in pill-mill investigation

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Doctor’s offices raided in pill-mill investigation

DAYTON — A local doctor Monday said he surrendered his medical license after federal, state and local law enforcement raided his offices in Dayton and Bethel Twp. in Clark County, and his Butler Twp. home.

There were no arrests involving the serving of the three search warrants, but boxes of records were removed in a long-term investigation into prescription drug abuse, money laundering and medical fraud.

Dr. Han M. Yang, 69, said authorities were “off-base” with their allegations.

He did say he had surrendered his license to practice medicine in Ohio and was giving up his practice.

“I have to find an attorney,” he said.

The Ohio Medical Board said Yang has no record of formal action against him.

The board would decide any action, if Yang has voluntarily surrendered his license, at its monthly meeting next week. His license remains active until then.

Officials described the operation as a “pill mill” where patients seek no medical attention and instead purchase prescriptions — generally with cash — for powerful painkillers from doctors.

Clark County Sheriff Gene A. Kelly said patients were lined up outside the Dayton office in the 3200 block of North Main Street when authorities arrived.

“Most of the time, these people pay cash for their prescriptions,” Kelly said.

The joint investigation began two years ago as the state Attorney General’s Office opened a Medicaid fraud case, said Attorney General Mike DeWine, as he stood outside the North Main Street office.

“The message today is, if doctors want to do this, they better leave the state,” DeWine said.

Yang is a 1966 graduate of Yonsei University’s College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea. He said he had practiced at the North Main Street location since 1976, the same year he became a naturalized citizen. At one point, he also had an office in Enon.

The Dayton Daily News in previous reporting that Montgomery County has a prescription overdose death rate of 23 per 100,000 population annually, twice that of any other urban county in Ohio.

Through June 15, 40 people have died in Montgomery County this year, overdosing on powerful painkillers, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Kelly said his department was alerted about a year ago when a woman nine months pregnant attempted to fill a prescription for a powerful painkiller. The pharmacist refused the prescription, alerting authorities.

“These people are not seeking medical attention. They are paying cash for the prescription, getting the drugs and often selling them on the street,” Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said. “This is a huge quality of life issue.”

In many cases, Plummer said, the prescribing doctor will sell the prescription then bill the federal government for medical services never rendered.

According to DeWine, four Ohioans overdose on drugs every day, many on prescription drugs. Two-thirds of those who overdose on prescription drugs were using drugs for which they had no prescription.

“I have sought out joint investigations with multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. We are bringing the full force of all government agencies to bear,” DeWine said.

DeWine said those involved in such enterprises are a small minority of doctors.

“These are doctors who don’t care about their patients and are flooding the state with drugs,” he said.

Staff writers Chris Stewart and Ben Sutherly contributed to this story. Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2290 or dpage@DaytonDailyNews.com.

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