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Press Release

Fifth Sacred Heart Hospital Physician Arrested For Allegedly Illegally Prescribing Hydrocodone To A Patient

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A Chicago physician associated with Sacred Heart Hospital on the city’s west side is facing federal charges for allegedly illegally prescribing hydrocodone to a hospital patient without having a valid license and registration to prescribe controlled substances.  The defendant, Dr. KENNETH S. NAVE, allegedly illegally used the Drug Enforcement Administration registration number of another physician when he prescribed the hydrocodone last December.

Nave, 50, of Chicago, was arrested yesterday in Miami when he returned from a trip outside the country.  He appeared today in Federal Court in Miami, was released, and ordered to appear at 3 p.m. tomorrow before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  He was charged in a criminal complaint that was filed on Monday and unsealed upon his arrest.

Also today, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued an order suspending Nave’s license to practice medicine.

On Tuesday, the owner and chief executive officer of Sacred Heart was arrested, along with the hospital’s chief financial officer and four physicians affiliated with the hospital on federal charges alleging a conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks in exchange for referral of Medicare and Medicaid patients to the hospital.  Federal agents also executed search and seizure warrants as part of an ongoing investigation of Medicare fraud allegations involving medically unnecessary emergency room admissions and in-patient tracheotomy procedures.

According to the complaint against Nave, who is the fifth physician to be charged, the investigation has revealed that between at least November 2012 and Feb. 25, 2013, he issued prescriptions to patients at Sacred Heart for controlled substances using the DEA registration issued to Physician I.  On Dec. 7, 2012, Nave allegedly prescribed a particular patient 90 pills containing hydrocodone, a narcotic controlled substance, using Physician I’s registration number.

Nave’s Illinois license to practice medicine was suspended between 2002 and 2008.  It was restored to probationary status on Dec. 20, 2012, but his state license to prescribe controlled substances was not restored until Feb. 26, 2013, according to the complaint affidavit.  Separately, Nave was not registered with the DEA to prescribe controlled substances but an application for DEA registration that was submitted on March 6, 2013, is pending, the affidavit adds.

The affidavit cites records from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicating that between Nov. 1, 2012, and Feb. 25, 2013, a person using Physician I’s name and DEA registration number issued approximately 101 prescriptions for controlled substances to approximately 33 patients at Sacred Heart Hospital.

The illegal prescription count carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines. 

Nave’s arrest and charge were announced today by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Lamont Pugh, III, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General; and Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terra Reynolds, Joel Hammerman and Ryan Hedges.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Updated July 27, 2015