DOCTOR GETS LIFE SENTENCE
IN THE DEATHS OF 2 PATIENTS




June 09, 2006 CLEVELAND - A doctor was sentenced to life in prison Friday for committing health care fraud that resulted in the deaths of two patients.

Dr. Jorge Martinez is the first to be convicted under the health care fraud resulting in death statute passed in 1996, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Cleveland.

Martinez, 54, of Bath Township, was convicted in January of 56 counts, including drug distribution and mail, wire and health care fraud for prescribing unnecessary drugs for patients suffering from chronic pain.

Prosecutors say Martinez often prescribed medication such as OxyContin, Zoloft and Valium to people already hooked on drugs. He rarely gave a prescription until after the patient agreed to receive injections to treat pain.

He then billed Medicare, Medicaid, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation and private health insurance plans for the injections.

Martinez contended his clinics in Lorain, Parma and Boardman in northeast Ohio offered people relief from chronic pain.

John "Jack" Lancaster, 42, of Parma Heights, and Blair Knight, 35, of Ravenna, died while under Martinez's care.

On Sept. 5, 2001, Lancaster fell unconscious in Martinez's office for several hours after he received two injections of Zoloft. He overdosed on multiple drugs two days later and died on Sept. 13, 2001.

Martinez submitted $60 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare, Medicaid, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation and private health insurance plans and was paid more than $12 million. More than $7 million has been recovered.

U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent will hold a hearing in August to determine how the money is divided among the victims and government agencies.


http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/14783987.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp






DOCTOR OF 2 DEAD PATIENTS
CONVICTED OF FRAUD




Friends,

I consulted as an expert on this case. I reviewed Dr. Martinez’s medical records, watched under cover videos of his practice, and analyzed the autopsy and toxicology data from the deaths. There was nothing going on here but the practice of pain management . One of the decedents took 13X the dose of Oxycontin prescribed by Dr. Martinez.

This outcome demonstrates once and for all that there is no justice to be obtained by physicians who fall into the clutches of the criminal justice system. This confirms that there is no pain control to be had within a system that first demonizes medicinal substances such as opioids, then by criminalizing their use regulates the practice of medicine through the brutal imposition of draconian criminal sanctions.

Frank Fisher



CLEVELAND (AP) — A doctor found guilty of health care fraud resulting in the deaths of two patients is only the second to be convicted of the offense. Dr. Jorge Martinez faces up to life in prison for prescribing unnecessary drugs for patients suffering from chronic pain.

Prosecutors say he often prescribed medication such as OxyContin, Zoloft and Valium to people already hooked on drugs. He rarely gave a prescription until after the patient agreed to receive injections to treat pain.

Martinez, 54, of Bath Township, then billed Medicare, Medicaid, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and private health insurance plans for the injections.

“He would just harpoon them with these shots so he could bill more and get them dependent on more,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Betzer said.

Hartinez contends his clinics in Parma and Boardman in northeast Ohio offered people relief from chronic pain.

A U.S. District Court jury convicted Martinez of 57 charges Thursday following a five-week trial, including two counts of health care fraud resulting in death. Judge Donald Nugent will sentence him in March.

John “Jack” Lancaster, 42, of Parma Heights, and Blair Knight, 35, of Ravenna, died while under Martinez’s care.

“This didn’t have to happen,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Hearey said. “But for Martinez’s criminal conduct, these men didn’t have to die.”

Karen Lancaster-Shells, who was married to Lancaster, said her husband was injured in a truck accident that resulted in severe neck and back pain that did not improve after several surgeries. She said Martinez billed her husband more than $10,000 a year for the injections.

“Dr. Martinez knew Jack had an addiction, yet he decided to treat him out of his own greed,” Lancaster-Shells tearfully said after the verdict.

On Sept. 5, 2001, Lancaster fell unconscious in Martinez’s office for several hours after he received two injections of Zoloft. He overdosed on multiple drugs two days later and died on Sept. 13, 2001.

Martinez submitted $60 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare, Medicaid, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and private health insurance plans. He received more than $12 million, more than half that came from the BWC, prosecutors said.

The only other doctor convicted of health care fraud resulting in death since the statute was passed in 1996 was William Hurwitz, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Cleveland.

Hurwitz, whose pain clinic drew patients from more than 39 states, prescribed high doses of drugs such as morphine and OxyContin. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison last April in federal court in Alexandria, Va.


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