Port Clinton Doctor Sentenced to Jail for Prescribing Controlled Substances Without Medical Necessity and Healthcare Fraud | USAO-NDOH

Acting U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler announced that William Bauer, 85, of Port Clinton, Ohio, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary to 5 years in prison and ordered to pay $464,099.14 in compensation, of which $253,300.55 will go to Medicare and $210,798.59 to Medicaid. Additionally, Judge Zouhary ordered Bauer to pay $100,000 in community restitution to the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wyandot counties.

Judge Zouhary handed down the sentence after Bauer was found guilty at trial of 76 counts of distributing controlled substances and 25 counts of health care fraud.

“This defendant needlessly distributed dangerous and highly addictive controlled substances and repeatedly ignored warning signs that his actions were causing detrimental harm to his patients and the community,” Acting U.S. Attorney Michelle said. Mr Baeppeler. “No matter your title, those who flood the streets with dangerous drugs and prey on the vulnerable will be held accountable.”

“Criminal misconduct in the health care system is harmful and destructive,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. “Not only does healthcare fraud impact insurers through monetary losses, but also the doctors, hospitals and taxpayers who unwittingly participated in the deceptive actions. We will continue to work diligently to uncover fraudulent schemes that endanger public health. »

“William Bauer’s conviction demonstrates our commitment to stopping those who fuel the opioid epidemic,” said Kent R. Kleinschmidt, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. . “Medical professionals who break their oath and instead seek to profit at the expense of their patients and the community will be brought to justice.”

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, between 2007 and 2019, Bauer at his practice in Bellevue, Ohio, repeatedly prescribed medically unnecessary controlled substances, including oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and tramadol, outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.

During the trial, prosecutors showed that Bauer prescribed high doses of opioids and other controlled substances to patients without regard to improving pain levels, function, or quality of life; combinations of prescribed hazardous drugs; disregarded a patient’s state of addiction and ignored warning signs of abuse and diversion such as patients stealing medications, frequent demand for early refills, loss of drugs and other actions.

The case involved Bauer’s treatment of 14 patients. Throughout the trial, prosecutors showed that these patients lost their jobs, fractured their families and experienced deteriorating mental health due to their drug addiction. In one case, court documents indicate that in 2015, a patient of Dr. Bauer died of an accidental overdose.

In addition to his conviction for distributing controlled substances, Bauer was also convicted of health care fraud. As part of the healthcare fraud scheme, Bauer billed insurers after prescribing medically unnecessary controlled substances and administering unnecessary epidural injections and trigger points that failed to meet certain procedural requirements. Because these injections failed to meet procedural requirements, they were rendered ineffective and fraudulently billed to insurers.

“This doctor has contributed to the tidal wave of opioid overdoses that has flooded our communities,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “I’m proud of the state and federal partnerships that continue to work to stem the tide of addiction.”

“Providers sow distrust in our country’s health care system when they participate in health care fraud and activities that endanger their patients,” said Mario M. Pinto, agent special charge of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General. “Together with our law enforcement partners, HHS-OIG will continue to hold accountable those who threaten the safety of beneficiaries by overprescribing and engaging in health care fraud.”

Court documents say the total amount of loss to Medicare and Medicaid due to fraudulent billing practices was $464,099.14.

This case has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General and the Ohio Office of the Attorney General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ava R. Dustin, Michael A. Sullivan, Robert N. Melching and Payum Doroodian.

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