Monday, February 16, 2015

Doctor admits taking kickbacks for prescribing risky drug

A suspended doctor pleaded guilty Friday to a felony charge of taking kickbacks and other benefits from a pharmaceutical company to prescribe its risky antipsychotic drug for thousands of his patients.

Michael Reinstein, who for decades treated patients in Chicago nursing homes and mental health wards, admitted in a 22-page plea agreement with prosecutors that he was given nearly $600,000 in benefits over the years for prescribing various forms of the drug clozapine, known as a risky drug of last resort, to patients in his care.

Prosecutors revealed in court that Reinstein is cooperating in an ongoing investigation. Under preliminary sentencing calculations, he faces up to four years in prison, but if he continues to assist investigators, the government will recommend a reduced sentence of a year and a half behind bars, according to his plea agreement.

At the same time Reinstein was entering his guilty plea, he also settled a civil lawsuit brought by the U.S. attorney's office and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan alleging he submitted more than 140,000 false Medicare and Medicaid claims as part of the kickback scheme. The settlement calls for Reinstein to pay more than $3.7 million in penalties to the U.S. government and the state of Illinois.

In addition, Reinstein must forfeit an additional $592,000 as part of his guilty plea to the criminal charge.

Reinstein, 71, of Skokie, appeared in court in a rumpled gray suit. He told the court he’s suffering from a number of ailments, including bladder cancer, hypertension, diabetes and an enlarged prostate.

Two decades ago, Reinstein was known as one of the most prolific Medicaid billers in Chicago history, once charging the taxpayer-funded program for the care of 490 patients in just five days.

In 2009, a joint Tribune-ProPublica investigation found that Reinstein had been overprescribing powerful antipsychotic drugs in Chicago nursing homes and mental health facilities, amassing a worrisome record of assembly-line care that was linked to three patients' deaths and triggered lawsuits as well as accusations of kickbacks and fraud.

Now, six months after state regulators indefinitely suspended Reinstein's medical license, federal authorities filed a criminal charge alleging Reinstein took kickbacks from a pharmaceutical company to prescribe clozapine — known as a risky drug of last resort — to patients in his care.

In a telephone interview earlier this month, Reinstein's attorney, Terence Campbell, said that Reinstein was "working toward resolving the issues raised by the government and hopes to put this episode behind him soon."  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Doctor admits taking kickbacks for prescribing risky drug

See Also:
Huge Prescriber of Risky Antipsychotic Drug to Plead Guilty to Taking Kickbacks


Rachel said...

Shame on him. Would he prescribe the drug for his Mother?

Laura said...

Sounds like the doctor is trying to get sympathy for himself. And he none for the patients he wrongfully prescribed to.