Pain physician admits to collecting $470k in illegal kickbacks: 6 details

Practice Management

Michael Frey, MD, a former physician at Fort Myers, Fla.-based Advanced Pain Management & Spine Specialists admitted to defrauding Medicare and Tricare, News Press reports.

Here's what you should know.

1. Dr. Frey pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud May 18. Investigators said he collected more than $470,000 for prescribing specific equipment and pain medications between 2010 and 2016.

2. Dr. Frey paid medical supplier A&G Spinal Solutions $50,000 to add his wife to their payroll and give her 10 percent of profits from equipment referrals he made to them, according to investigators.

A&G Spinal Solutions managing partners Ryan Williamson and William Pierce pleaded guilty to their roles in the fraud scheme.

3. Dr. Frey set up a similar agreement to receive a kickback from prescription sales, according to court documents. The co-conspirator in that arrangement is unnamed.

4. Dr. Frey collected fees from Insys Therapeutics sales representatives and other employees between 2013 and 2015 for participating in "largely bogus" Insys speaker event programs.

Subsys, a form of fentanyl that is only legally prescribed to cancer patients, is Insys' flagship pharmaceutical product.

5. Dr. Frey faces up to 10 years in prison, according to NBC-2and a sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

6. Dr. Jonathan Daitch, who owns 51 percent of the Advanced Pain Management & Spine Specialists clinic, said Dr. Frey resigned from the practice and agreed to give up his 49 percent stake.

"These kickbacks were concealed from other members of the practice. Although the plea agreement alleged unlawful payments to Dr. Frey for the prescription of medical products, it is our understanding that all medical services conducted by Dr. Frey and all medical prescriptions ordered by Dr. Frey were medically necessary and provided or prescribed for the maximum medical benefit to the patient," Dr. Daitch said in a statement provided to NBC-2.

The full statement from Advanced Pain Management & Spine Specialists can be read here.

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