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9 Middle Tennessee medical professionals charged in federal opioid bust

Posted: 10:56 AM, Apr 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-18 14:26:59Z
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nine medical professionals in Middle Tennessee have been charged in a federal indictment for their alleged involvement in the illegal prescription and distribution of opioids.

The Department of Justice announced the charges Wednesday, saying 60 people were charged across 6 states, including 31 doctors, 7 pharmacists, 8 nurse practitioners, and 7 other licensed medical professionals. Other states included Kentucky, West Virginia and Alabama.

The following were charged in Middle Tennessee:

Dr. Darrell Rinehart (Columbia): "indicted on 19 counts of prescribing a Schedule II controlled substance outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, between December 4, 2014 and January 21, 2016. According to the indictment, four patients died who were actively being seen by Dr. Rinehart. The indictment also alleges that on November 27, 2018, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners suspended Rinehart’s medical license until May 31, 2019, at which time his license will expire and he will be prohibited from renewing it or applying for a new license."

Dr. Bowdoin Smith (Carthage): "indicted on two counts of prescribing a Schedule II controlled substance outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, in January and February 2019. The indictment alleges that in October 2012, Smith entered a consent order with the State of Tennessee Department of Health, Board of Osteopathic Examination based on stipulated facts that Smith, among other things, prescribed controlled substances “not in the course of professional practice, or not in good faith to relieve pain and suffering, or not to cure an ailment, physical infirmity or disease,” and Smith’s treatment “routinely included prescribing narcotics and other medications and controlled substances in amounts and/or for durations not medically necessary, advisable, or justified for a diagnosed condition.” Smith’s medical license was placed on probation for a period of not less than three years, beginning on October 11, 2012. According to the indictment, On November 4, 2015, the Board lifted the probation and Smith again began illegally prescribing highly addictive opioids, continuing through February 2019."

Dr. Lawrence Valdez (Life Survival Health, Hendersonville): "indicted on 18 counts of prescribing a Schedule II controlled substance outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, between June 2016 and March 2017."

Dr. Timothy Abbott (Podiatrist, Nashville): "indicted on seven counts of prescribing a Schedule II controlled substance outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, between January 2015 and January 2019."

Brian Richey (Nurse Practitioner, Pain MD Franklin): "indicted on three counts of healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. According to the indictment, Richey, Seeley and White were employed by MedManagement Inc., which managed Pain MD located in Franklin, Tennessee."

Daniel Seeley (Nurse Practitioner, Pain MD Franklin): "indicted on three counts of healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. According to the indictment, Richey, Seeley and White were employed by MedManagement Inc., which managed Pain MD located in Franklin, Tennessee."

Jonathan White (Nurse Practitioner, Pain MD Franklin): "indicted on three counts of healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. According to the indictment, Richey, Seeley and White were employed by MedManagement Inc., which managed Pain MD located in Franklin, Tennessee."

John Polston (Celina): "indicted on 21 counts of dispensing Schedule II and Schedule IV controlled substances, outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, between April 27, 2017 and December 6, 2017. The indictment alleges that Polston was the Pharmacist-in-Charge of Oakley Pharmacy, Inc. d/b/a Dale Hollow Pharmacy in Celina, Tennessee. On March 6, 2017, Polston entered into an agreement with the DEA that required compliance with federal, state and local laws pertaining to the dispensation of controlled substances. The indictment alleges that until approximately February 2019, Polston repeatedly and consistently dispensed controlled substances, including highly addictive opioids, that were not for a legitimate medical purpose or in the usual course of professional practice. "

Heather Marks (Nurse Practitioner, Murfreesboro): "indicted on four counts of prescribing a Schedule II controlled substance outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, between December 2016 and February 2018."

The arrests were made as part of the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force, which began in December.

“The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, and Appalachia has suffered the consequences more than perhaps any other region,” Attorney General William P. Barr said.

According to a release from the Justice Department, the charges involve “individuals contributing to the opioid epidemic, with a particular focus on medical professionals involved in the unlawful distribution of opioids and other prescription narcotics, a priority for the Department.”

According to the CDC, 115 Americans die every day of an opioid-related overdose.