Marietta doctor sentenced to 8 years in prison for illegally distributing opioid pain meds, health care fraud
DAYTON – David Kirkwood, 62, of Dayton, was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 70 months in prison and five years of supervised release for running a pill mill in Dayton.
In August 2017, Kirkwood and his wife, Beverly Kirkwood, pleaded guilty to health care fraud. David Kirkwood also pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful drug trafficking.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Chicago Region and Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Judge Walter H. Rice.
According to court documents, David Kirkwood owned and operated Kirkwood Family Practice in Dayton beginning in 1986.
David Kirkwood distributed nearly 4,000 units of Oxycodone outside the scope of medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. All of these units were paid for by Medicare or Medicaid.
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. Those bills were submitted on behalf of the practice and with the assistance of Beverly Kirkwood, who has been sentenced to six months in prison.
According to the indictment, David Kirkwood saw up to 100 patients per day, charging $100 per office visit.
“David Kirkwood’s method of distribution was the prescription pad, but make no mistake: he was a drug dealer,” said U.S. Attorney Glassman. “His prescriptions exposed his ‘patients’ to the risk of overdose and encouraged their addiction.”
“Our mission is to protect Ohio’s families, and we’ve made cracking down on pill mills a priority,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “David Kirkwood prescribed pills that never should have been prescribed and put his own interests above the health and safety of his patients.”
“Ensuring the appropriate use and prescribing of opioids is essential to protecting the health and safety of patients and the integrity of the Medicare and Medicaid programs”, said Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Chicago Region. “Dr. Kirkwood’s actions were reckless and criminal and are reflective of a mindset that was polluted by greed. The OIG has made combatting the opioid crisis a top enforcement priority and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and hold accountable those who act illegally and put patients’ health and safety at risk.”
David and Beverly Kirkwood have agreed to pay restitution in the amount of nearly $160,000, which represents the loss to Medicare and Medicaid.
“More than three fourths of heroin addiction in the United States begins with prescription pills,” said U.S. Attorney Glassman. “This case is one example of our commitment to end opioid-related health-care fraud.”
As part of that commitment, an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Ohio has been designated as part of the Attorney General’s Opioid Fraud and Abuse Task Force.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the Ohio Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, HHS-OIG and DEA, as well as Special Assistant United States Attorney Maritsa Flaherty and Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Oakley.
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