Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pediatric neurology grows up

A Hyannis doctor charged with doling out powerful painkillers to recovering addicts and trying to cover his tracks in paperwork once specialized in treating sick children, but later transformed his office into a “dangerous” pill mill built on adult patients getting a hold of the addictive opiates, according to Attorney General Maura Healey.

Dr. Mohammad Nassery, 63, has agreed to suspend his solo practice after he was hit with a 21-count indictment on Friday, including 11 charges of illegal prescribing, Healey’s office said yesterday.

Dr. Mohammad Nassery, 63, who practiced out of Ariana Pediatric Neurology on North Street, was indicted May 18 on 11 counts of illegal prescribing, nine counts of making false Medicaid claims and one count of larceny of more than $250. He pleaded not guilty to those charges at his Barnstable Superior Court arraignment July 6.

Nassery, who was seeing about 80 patients, is accused of acting as a drug dealer for eight of them.

Medical records indicate that Nassery continued to prescribe oxycodone — which is addictive and highly abused — and other oxycodone-based medications, such as Percocet, to patients despite their documented substance abuse, according to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office.

Investigators allege that Nassery wrote prescriptions for some patients after learning they were enrolled in substance abuse treatment programs or were receiving opioids from other prescribers.

They also determined that Nassery insisted on urine-drug screens and MRI tests before prescribing controlled substances as a “cover” for his unlawful practices, according to the attorney general’s office.

 The attorney general’s office also alleges that Nassery billed the state’s Medicaid program, MassHealth, for medically unnecessary or overstated services by charging for simple office visits using a billing code reserved for comprehensive medical exams and complex medical decision-making. As a result, MassHealth paid a higher rate than warranted for the office visits, according to the attorney general’s office.

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