A pill mill is described as an operation in which a medical professional prescribes or dispenses drugs without a legitimate medical purpose. Naturally, the main objective of an individual who runs a pill mill is to illegally profit from sales. Of course, what pill mills result in are the distribution of many illegal narcotics as well as the flooding of communities with prescription drugs that are used for non-medical purposes.
Make no mistake about it – pill mills are illegal.
And as Dayton, Ohio’s David Kirkwood discovered, earlier this week, there is a heavy price to pay for running such an operation. As reported by the Southern District of Ohio branch of the United States Department of Justice yesterday, the 62 year-old Kirkwood was sentenced to 70 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
The sentence stems from Kirkwood’s guilty plea back in August of 2017. Along with his wife, Beverly Kirkwood, the doctor pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful drug trafficking. His actions involved the distribution of nearly 4,000 units of Oxycodone. None of the drugs he dispensed were for any legitimate medical purpose. Meanwhile, they were all paid for by either Medicare or Medicaid.
Dr. Kirkwood owned and operated Kirkwood Family Practice.
As the DOJ report reveals, the Dayton-based clinic was founded in 1986. As part of his pill mill-running scheme, “the doctor often used the same billing code for his customers regardless of the service performed, and would accept health care insurance payments for examinations that were not medically appropriate or sufficient for the billing codes submitted.”
The report goes one to highlight his wife, Beverly’s involvement in the scheme. It was she who submitted all of the bills to Medicare and Medicaid on behalf of the practice. Mrs. Kirkwood, by the way, has been sentenced to six months in prison for her role in the pill mill operation. In addition to the prison sentences, both David and Beverly Kirkwood have agreed to pay restitution in the amount of nearly $160,000. This amount represents the loss to Medicare and Medicaid.
Benjamin C. Glassman is the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.
About Kirkwood’s actions, he had this to say: “David Kirkwood’s method of distribution was the prescription pad, but make no mistake: he was a drug dealer. His prescriptions exposed his ‘patients’ to the risk of overdose and encouraged their addiction… “More than three fourths of heroin addiction in the United States begins with prescription pills. This case is one example of our commitment to end opioid-related health-care fraud.”
Mike DeWine is the Ohio Attorney General. “Our mission is to protect Ohio’s families, and we’ve made cracking down on pill mills a priority,” he added, “David Kirkwood prescribed pills that never should have been prescribed and put his own interests above the health and safety of his patients.”
If you’re an attorney trying a health care fraud case, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Allegiant Experts to find out how we can assist you. Our team has been providing expert clinical services for over 15 years and can help you by bridging the disciples of medicine, coding and billing to ensure accurate payment and data is achieved. Call us at 407-217-5831 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.