By CCHR International November 17, 2015 The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the ongoing Federal criminal investigations into about 20 psychiatric facilities owned by Universal Health Services (UHS),…
A Texas health agency has begun investigating more than three dozen healthcare providers who prescribed large quantities of powerful psychiatric drugs — some to children — after a U.S. senator raised questions about the medications.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has referred three providers to the attorney general for criminal prosecution, state Health Commissioner Thomas Suehs wrote to Sen. Charles Grassley last month. Some have been excluded from the Texas Medicaid program, including one convicted in a criminal case and another accused of inappropriate billing and coding of hours related to patient services.
An influential U.S. senator is grilling officials in nearly three-dozen states, demanding to know how they are cracking down on physicians who prescribe massive amounts of potentially dangerous prescription drugs.
Iowa Republican Charles Grassley sent letters to 34 states Monday asking what steps they had taken to investigate doctors whose prescribing of antipsychotics, anti-anxiety drugs and painkillers to Medicaid patients far exceeds that of their peers.
With little oversight and apparent carte blanche, a relative handful of Texas physicians wrote $47 million worth of Medicaid prescriptions for powerful antipsychotic and anti-anxiety drugs over the past two years, according to a Star-Telegram analysis. The top five doctors alone wrote $18 million worth. Grassley asked Texas and other states for the top 10 prescribers who billed Medicaid for certain drugs. The Star-Telegram used prescriber numbers to identify the doctors, then sorted and tallied the drugs they were prescribing. Also reviewed was information on other mental-health drugs that have cost taxpayers about $1.3 billion during the past five years.
Most of the drugs have gone to children and adolescents, although prescribing the drugs to children, such as a toddler, is considered “off-label” — uses not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Now the state’s Medicaid program is among others under scrutiny, after Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, began investigating the use of mental-health drugs this year.
Three San Diego doctors [all psychiatrists] who prescribe medications at the same time they are paid by drug companies as experts on the products figure into a broader national debate about whether playing both roles poses a conflict. California Watch, a project of the independent, nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting, compared two sets of data at the center of the debate — one a database of payments by drug companies to doctors nationwide and the other a list of the top antipsychotic prescribers in California’s Medi-Cal program for the poor and disabled.