Crooked doctor will keep her medical license, state rules
| Irony alert: the state medical board that refused to pull the license of a doctor who defrauded taxpayers of $65 million intended to treat ailing military veterans has ordered her to take medical ethics classes.
Brett Kelman, April 16, 2019
| Nashville Tennessean – Dr. Susy Vergot was central to a pain cream conspiracy that defrauded the military out of $65 million.
But the state of Tennessee will allow Vergot to keep practicing medicine and writing prescriptions.
Vergot has been ordered to attend medical ethics classes and her license will be put on professional probation for five years, but she can continue to practice medicine and write prescriptions, according to state records revealed on Monday.
The records say that Vergot insists she was unaware her prescriptions were being used for fraud.
Scheme defrauded the military out of at least $65 million
Vergot, who once worked at the Choice MD clinic in Cleveland, Tennessee, was a central figure in a cross-country fraud conspiracy that was the subject of a Tennessean investigation published in February.
The conspiracy used unnecessary prescriptions for exorbitantly expensive pain cream to defraud the military out of at least $65 million over a six-month span in 2015.
Seven people and companies have been indicted for the scheme, and all but two have pleaded guilty.
The scheme worked like this: Recruiters in California would use cash kickbacks to convince Marines to sign up for pain cream prescriptions they didn’t need, then doctors at Choice MD would write the prescriptions without ever evaluating the Marines.
The prescriptions were then sent to a Utah pharmacy called The Medicine Shoppe, which would bill the military insurance program Tricare about $14,500 for each prescription. Federal prosecutors say Vergot wrote thousands of these pain cream prescriptions. Read more.
NOTE: The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners oversees the discipline of doctors throughout the state. Nine of the twelve members of the board that allowed Vergot to keep her license are themselves medical doctors. – Headline Health
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