We’re in the business of ensuring the wrong people don’t get hired by our clients. As experts in background investigations and pre employment screening, we work with organizations from all different backgrounds. We recommend any business find themselves a good partner for all their background screening needs, so you can ensure your onboarding process is smooth and efficient. Today we’re focusing on medical background checks, and why OIG healthcare screening is vital.
OIG healthcare screenings are mandated by the government to ensure medical professionals are routinely and regularly checked to ensure they haven’t been accused or convicted of a crime, or lost their license to practice medicine in their respective field. The individual featured in today’s story is a glaring example of why this process is in place.
Family Health Practitioner or Dealer?
An individual aged 55 in Lockport New York was recently arrested and charged with a criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute oxymorphone. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
As a licensed nurse practitioner, the individual is authorized to prescribe and distribute controlled substances. While working for a Family Health organization in Lockport, the individual allegedly over-prescribed oxymorphone dosage units to only select individuals who WERE patients, who then agreed to sell all or a portion of the prescribed pills for a financial profit.
Upon making the profit, the patients were expected to give the defendant the profits from the sale during their next office visit. Those office visits were being billed to insurance including Medicare and Medicaid.
The New York State Department of Health Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement demonstrated data that shows that from the time of August 2021 through September of 2023, the defendant prescribed approximately 123 prescriptions for oxymorphone, totaling in excess of 13,000 oxymorphone pills into the community.
Read More from DOJ: Nurse Practitioner arrested, charged with selling oxymorphone
Impact on Individual
This instance will certainly impact the individual being accused of the crime. It will be difficult for them to continue their medical profession if convicted. With regards to the crime, they will be forced into a litany of legal battles, have all but destroyed their medical reputation, and could certainly end up facing some time behind bars. Not to mention the large fines they will need to pay back if convicted, and the damage they have now caused to their employer’s reputation.
Impact on Business
Now that this individual has been caught, the questions arise for the organization who hired them. The reputation of the medical practice will have a dark cloud looming over it for the impending future. Will patients leave the practice due to this story coming out? How will this practice recover from such a disastrous public relations nightmare? Unfortunately for everyone employed by the practice, it can be assumed they have all, or will all be under a microscope with federal drug enforcement until everything is uncovered.
Read More On ESS- 2 Florida Doctors Sentenced for Stealing $31M from Medicare
Impact on Community
This instance will impact everyone who chose to go to this practice for their medical care. Would you want your family medical practice treating your husband, wife, mother, daughter, child, knowing that there was an opioid dealing operation going on right under your nose? The impact of 13,000 pills of oxymorphone getting into the public can’t be understated, as opioid addiction is a very serious issue all over the country.
What is most distressing about this story is the reality that the drugs weren’t coming from the street, or being made in a lab, or being imported from another country, they were being passed out by a medical professional from a medical practice. This is a stark and cold example of how addiction and drug overdoses are often caused by those who are meant to protect and heal us.
Why OIG Matters
We will say today, as we have said in the past, this is exactly why OIG healthcare exclusion searches are regulated and mandated. Healthcare professionals like this one, who are faced with a crime or conviction, are often not able to continue their medical career where the crime occurred, but with enough creativity and criminal ingenuity, they often find themselves back in the medical profession in another state, sometimes under another name, sometimes with another entire medical license.
When someone like this individual is charged with a crime, they shouldn’t be able to practice if they lost the privilege. OIG helps to ensure that you don’t make the mistake of hiring someone who has been excluded from practicing according to the law.
Whether you work in a medical profession, an HVAC company, a dance studio, a food service, your actions determine the reputation that your company has in the public’s eye, and if you take the wrong action you can certainly damage that reputation for years to come. It is the responsibility of the business owner and HR professionals to ensure they remain compliant and regulate these checks to maintain legality, but it is also important to screen all employees to ensure their work history, education background, skillset, reputation, and integrity all line up with what is demonstrated on their resume and interview.
If you have a question about OIG exclusion checks, pre employment background checks, drug screening or anything else regarding employment screening please don’t hesitate to give us a call! We are more than willing to help explain where you stand, how you can improve, and how you could be more efficient in your employment screening process!