Health News Florida
By Carol Gentry
January 15, 2010
Since 2004, a Miami psychiatrist has prescribed almost 14 million pills to Medicaid patients at a cost to taxpayers of $43 million, a state agency says.
Fernando Mendez-Villamil would have had to issue 4,000 prescriptions a month, or 1,000 a week, to keep up that pace, according to the report released this week by the Agency for Health Care Administration. Altogether in the six years from 2004-09, he issued nearly 285,000 prescriptions, the AHCA report showed.
However, AHCA noted that that total counts a refill as a prescription. The agency said its report does not conclude that Mendez-Villamil’s prescribing is improper; its investigation continues.
Mendez-Villamil’s status as the most prolific prescriber in the state was already known, based on a report released in December of a 21-month period in 2007-09. But that period was mild compared to the years before, the new data show, and a timeline suggests that the prescribing slowed down markedly after the state began implementing computer tracking and other controls.
His highest-prescribing year in the period studied was 2004, when he issued about 62,400 prescriptions that cost Medicaid $12.2 million, according to the chart. The number of patients: that year: 2,695. A quick calculation shows that he issued 23 prescriptions (or refills) per patient, for a total of more than 1,200 pills apiece.
Sen. Don Gaetz, chairman of the health regulation committee, said Mendez-Villamil “appears to be taking advantage of the taxpayers of Florida and draining money away from legitimate patients. He should be the poster boy for tougher enforcement actions.”
Read entire article: http://www.healthnewsflorida.org/index.cfm/go/public.articleView/article/15742
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