More than a dozen Ohio doctors who have current waivers to prescribe an opioid addiction treatment drug have either lost their medical license or been disciplined for violations related to prescribing practices.
A Dayton Daily News Path Forward investigation revealed that lax rules for treating opioid addiction allow tax money to go toward ineffective care.
READ THE INVESTIGATION: Millions in tax money pays for drug treatment — is it working?
Doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners can attend an eight-hour training to get a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine from the DEA. They must follow Ohio Medical Board rules for medication-assisted treatment, and can treat up to 30 patients at a time without any further certification.
The medical board relies on complaints to police medical professionals with these waivers, but has taken action against a number of them for not following the rules in treating those with opioid addiction.
Here are some examples.
•Dr. Franklin Demint is on probation with the Ohio Medical Board and working at a Middletown Suboxone clinic. Due to marijuana dependency, he entered into a consent agreement that permanently bans him from prescribing narcotics but makes an exception for buprenorphine, according to a consent agreement. The state makes exceptions for doctors who have themselves struggled with substance abuse as long as they comply with their probation and can demonstrate a pattern of sustained recovery. Demint couldn’t be reached for comment.
•Dr. Rose O. Uradu, who operates treatment clinics in Kentucky and Ohio, finished serving an Ohio license probation earlier this year after the medical board found she issued buprenorphine prescriptions to twice as many patients as her waiver allowed. She was flooded with patients when another clinic closed down, her attorney Fox Demoisey said. Uradu has also been sued by the Justice Department for billing Medicaid and Medicare for patient evaluations and urine tests that allegedly were never performed at her Kentucky clinic. “It’s about correct compensation,” Demoisey said. “It’s not about competency.”
• Dr. Nilesh Jobalia of Hamilton will go on trial in 2019 for allegedly prescribing both opioid pain killers and methadone without actually seeing patients, and in unlawful combinations, according to court and medical license records. “Because the matter is before the court, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the precise clinical reasons for the combinations of drugs charged in the indictment,” his attorney David Axelrod said. “We do, however, intend to prove that Dr. Jobalia was an extremely careful physician who always acted in the best interests of his patients, and is not guilty of the offenses charged in the indictment.”
MORE FROM THE PATH FORWARD: