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State Police Create New Unit to Investigate Opioid Prescription Fraud

Oct 31st, 2019 OWI

The Michigan State Police have recently announced that they have created the “Diversion Investigation Unit (DIU)” to help combat opioid prescription fraud within the State. The newly formed DIU will investigate licensed health care professionals for possible prescription fraud.  Prescription fraud happens any time a health care professional prescribes or distributes a controlled substance for anything other than an appropriate medical purpose within a proper physician/patient relationship.

An example of this would be writing fake or fraudulent prescriptions for pain killers, including opioids, which have a high potential for abuse. This might happen when a doctor is supplied with names of people who are not his/her patients and he/she then writes them a prescription.  Another example is when a doctor sees a patient one time and writes the opioid prescription without a proper examination and in the absences of a “real” physician/patient relationship.  The patient never returns for follow-up, and the disability leading to the pain being treated is never verified.

Michigan’s DIU will generally look at four things before beginning their investigation:

  1. A doctor’s history and practice of prescribing opioids and other controlled substances compares unfavorably and looks suspicious when compared with other doctors of similar specialty.
  2. A commercial audit of a doctor’s charts results in suspicion which may be followed-up by the DIU sending in undercover officers who act like real “patients” to test if doctor follows generally accepted medical practices instead of writing the prescription without a proper medical foundation.
  3. An investigation begins after a pharmacy tips off the police. In this case the DIU might contact the pharmacy and/or employees, past and present, to gather information.
  4. A citizen files a tip with the police, or online through a DEA website designed for this purpose.

Now that the State Police have formed the DIU and are actively looking for doctors and other health care professionals to prosecute, it seems likely that more and more physicians will find themselves under investigation.

If you are a medical health care professional charged with opioid or other prescription fraud, or if you fear you are being investigated for related crimes, then please contact us for your free no obligation case evaluation.  Attorney Keith Corbett has close to 40 years of experience with State and Federal crimes of this nature, and can use his specialized knowledge as a former prosecutor to help you avoid prosecution,  help you otherwise obtain the best possible result, and maybe even help you to preserve your livelihood, including possibly preserving your health professional license. Call today for more information.