Windham Nurse Practitioner Pleads Guilty to Healthcare Fraud and Prescription Fraud Charges
CONCORD – Kristen Khanna, 42, of Windham, pleaded guilty in federal court today to healthcare fraud and prescription fraud charges, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Khanna is a nurse practitioner licensed to practice in the State of New Hampshire who operated Total Pain Care and Wellness, P.A. in Salem, New Hampshire, from October 2009 until December 2015. The charges focus on 2014 and 2015, when Khanna was the only licensed provider at Total Pain Care, but had an employee who was not a medical provider. The government’s investigation, which included patient interviews, a review of prescribing data and other investigative techniques, revealed that Khanna was often not present at Total Pain Care and allowed office visits to be conducted by the employee. On numerous occasions, Khanna would then bill Medicare for those office visits as if she had conducted them herself, causing Medicare to reimburse Total Pain Care for the services purportedly rendered. Medicare would not have paid for these sham office visits if it had known that the employee, and not Khanna, was providing the service.
Khanna also admitted that she would often leave the employee with a pad of pre-signed, but otherwise blank, prescription forms for the employee to fill out and issue to patients in what the two often referred to as “drive-by” visits. Patients would then take those prescriptions and fill them at local pharmacies, causing Medicare to pay for the prescriptions through the Part D prescription drug program. The government determined that more than 200 prescriptions for controlled substances were filled by more than a dozen Medicare patients in this manner in 2015. Had Medicare known that the employee, and not Khanna, had completed and issued these prescriptions, it would not have paid for them.
In addition, in 2015, Khanna provided a patient covered by private insurance with pre-signed but otherwise blank prescriptions for that patient to fill out for her own use. The patient completed the prescriptions, in some instances after exchanging text messages with Khanna, and then presented them at local pharmacies as if they had been written and provided by Khanna. The patient was able to obtain Oxycontin, Adderall and Percocet (all controlled substances) with these fraudulent prescriptions.
Khanna is scheduled to be sentenced on January 4, 2019. She has agreed to pay restitution to the Medicare program in the amount of $127,264.98. As part of her plea agreement, Khanna, who already surrendered her Drug Enforcement Administration license during the course of the investigation, has agreed to not seek a new DEA registration for a period of ten years. She will also face a minimum five year debarment from participating in the Medicare program.
“The battle against opioids is being waged on numerous fronts,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “One sad reality is that there are health care providers who have contributed to the opioid crisis by engaging in illegal conduct. As this case demonstrates, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners are working together to identify and prosecute health care providers whose prescribing practices violate the law.”
“As New Hampshire battles the opioid epidemic we simply cannot allow unqualified individuals to recklessly oversee blank, pre-signed prescription pads,” said Phillip M. Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “This investigation succeeded through joint teamwork with the Drug Enforcement Administration. And we look forward to working with local, state, and other federal law enforcement partners on future cases.”
This matter was a joint investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad and Office of Diversion Control. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles L. Rombeau.