Former Suboxone Clinic Doctor Sentenced for Illegal Prescribing and Health Care Fraud
PITTSBURGH - A former resident of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 180 days of home confinement; three years’ probation; fined a total of $20,000.00; and ordered to pay $156,902.89 in restitution on his conviction of unlawfully prescribing buprenorphine and committing health care fraud, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab imposed the sentence on Michael Anthony Bummer, age 40.
According to information presented to the court, Bummer, a physician, was employed at Redirections Treatment Advocates (Redirections), a buprenorphine clinic with offices in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Under federal law, a prescription for a controlled substance is required to be signed and dated the day it is issued. Bummer and other doctors at Redirections would routinely pre-sign blank prescriptions for buprenorphine, which is a scheduled controlled substance under federal law. The pre-signed prescriptions were then given to other medically-unlicensed employees at Redirections who completed the prescription and provided it to the patients in exchange for cash. On numerous occaisons, the doctors were not physically present at Redirections and did not exam their patients when prescriptions bearing their names were issued. For example, on August 17, 2016, one of Bummer’s patients received a prescription for buprenorphine although Bummer was not in the office and did not see the patient. Because the prescriptions were illegally issued, Medicare and Medicaid were defrauded when Redirections’ patients used their insurance to fill the prescriptions. When confronted by an investigator, Bummer surrendered his license to prescribe controlled substances.
Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Schwab stated that the sentence was intended to achieve the goals of punishment and the other sentencing factors set forth in the United States Code.
Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Cessar and Michael Leo Ivory prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
United States Attorney Brady added the investigation leading to the filing of charges in these cases was conducted by the Western Pennsylvania Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit (OFADU). The Western Pennsylvania OFADU, led by federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, combines the expertise and resources of federal and state law enforcement to address the role played by unethical medical professionals in the opioid epidemic.
The agencies which comprise the Western Pennsylvania OFADU include: Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General – Bureau of Narcotic Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office – Criminal Division, Civil Division and Asset Forfeiture Unit, Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of Inspector General, Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations, U.S. Office of Personnel Management – Office of Inspector General and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Licensing.