Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Distribution of Controlled Substances and Health Care Fraud
For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
A Tennessee woman pleaded guilty today to unlawfully distributing controlled substances and health care fraud.
According to court documents, Kelly McCallum, 41, of Dyersburg, was an advance practice registered nurse who operated Convenient Care Clinic and held a registration from the DEA, which allowed her to prescribe controlled substances. From January 2017 until early 2021, McCallum had sexual relationships with two patients for whom she was their medical provider. She was aware that another patient fatally overdosed after she prescribed them controlled substances but nevertheless continued to prescribe controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. McCallum also billed Medicare and Medicaid for examinations and other services that she did not personally render, resulting in Medicare and Medicaid paying her approximately $16,234 for services she did not provide.
McCallum pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances and one count of health care fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 3 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each controlled substance count, and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the health care fraud count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
In June 2021, the Tennessee Board of Nursing summarily suspended McCallum’s registered nurse license and advance practice registered nurse certificate and ordered her to cease and desist from practicing in the state of Tennessee.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee, Special Agent in Charge Chris Ramage of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Medicaid Fraud Control Division for West Tennessee, Special Agent in Charge Tamala Miles of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Acting Special Agent in Charge Douglas S. DePodesta of the FBI Memphis Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge J. Todd Scott of the DEA Louisville Division made the announcement.
The HHS-OIG, FBI, DEA, and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are investigating the case.
Assistant Chief Jillian Willis and Trial Attorney Kathryn Furtado of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christie Hopper for the Western District of Tennessee are prosecuting the case.
Since its inception in late 2018, the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force has partnered with federal and state law enforcement agencies and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout Appalachia to prosecute medical professionals and others involved in the illegal prescription and distribution of opioids. Over the past four years, ARPO has charged over 115 defendants, collectively responsible for issuing prescriptions for over 115 million controlled substance dosage units. As a result, to date, more than 70 defendants have been convicted. More information can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.
Information about available treatment programs is available as follows:
Tennessee patients receiving care from this practice that wish to obtain information on how to find treatment for mental and substance use disorders, where to access naloxone and other harm reduction services, and information about crisis helplines can utilize these Tennessee resources:
- Search for substance use treatment facilities at www.findtreatment.gov/.
- Call 855-CRISIS-1 (855) 274-7471 or Text “TN” to 741-741, a crisis service and suicide prevention hotline.
- The Tennessee REDLINE is the 24/7/365 resource for substance abuse treatment referrals. Anyone can call or text (800) 889-9789 for confidential referrals.
- Naloxone Public Overdose Response Programs in Tennessee supply naloxone and may be found using this list.
Visit www.tn.gov/behavioral-health/substance-abuse-services/prevention/rops.html to see a locator map. Naloxone may also be found in your local pharmacy and billed to insurance and Medicaid.
In addition, those needing access to opioid treatment service can contact the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 24/7 National Helpline for referrals to treatment services at 1-800-662-4359.
Medications obtained illicitly are very dangerous as they are often not what they appear, and frequently contain contaminants and extremely potent substances such as fentanyl that greatly increase the risk of overdose and death.
Updated May 9, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-531
Health Care Fraud