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Prescriber Checkup

Prescriber Checkup » Top OxyContin Prescribers

Medicare’s Top OxyContin Prescribers in 2010

Medicare Part D does not quickly restrict privileges of prescribers who get in trouble. Here are the top 20 prescribers of the frequently abused narcotic Oxycontin and their notable legal or disciplinary history, if any. Of the 20, only Frank Ballesteros has been excluded from Medicare. Providers who lose their medical licenses cannot write new prescriptions, but Part D will continue to pay for refills of previous ones.

Doctor State Oxycontin Presciptions 2010 All Narcotic Prescriptions 2010 History
Oscar A. Linares Michigan 3,754 15,262

Faces charges for unlawful distribution of controlled substances and health care fraud filed March 2011. Ohio medical board revoked his license. Michigan's medical board placed him on probation in January 2013.

Frank Ballesteros Florida 2,436 6,160

Found guilty of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances in April 2012. Sentenced to 365 months in federal prison and $5.5 million restitution. Medical license suspended in June 2012. His attorney, Eric Cohen, said the case is under appeal and the doctor maintains his innocence.

Frank H. McNiel Tennessee 1,874 6,649

A McNiel patient was sentenced to federal prison last year for selling pills the doctor prescribed. At sentencing, the judge said, "The doctors who overprescribe these drugs are complicit in these crimes." In an interview, McNiel said he has since retired. "If you come and I take you as a patient, I'll try to treat you the best I can."

Baljinder Pannu Michigan 1,601 4,132

Pleaded guilty in February 2012 for paying recruiters illegal kickbacks to bring patients to his pain clinic. Sentenced to 18 months in prison, a $25,000 fine and $560,000 restitution to Medicare. Medical license suspended in August 2012. His lawyer, Karen Davis Roberts, said Pannu's conviction did not involve "writing too many scripts or anything like that."

Boniface O. Onubah California 1,420 1,701 No action found.
Gerson M. Sternstein Connecticut 1,322 4,435

Connecticut medical license suspended in August 2010, then revoked in September 2011 for excessive prescribing. Sternstein said he is an expert in addiction psychiatry and pain management and cared for chronic pain patients who did not respond to treatments from other doctors.

Jose A. Prieto Florida 1,309 3,386 No action found.
Alfonso Gutierrez California 1,282 2,394 No action found.
Adelfo M. Pamatmat Michigan 1,228 3,567 No action found.
Deleno H. Webb III West Virginia 1,166 4,457

Ohio license indefinitely suspended in 2000 for failing to disclose discipline by West Virginia for alleged patient sexual relationship; reduced to 90-day suspension and probation. Terminated by Ohio Medicaid in 2000. Successfully challenged discipline in West Virginia, where his license remains active.

Humberto A. Gomez Florida 1,105 2,448

Fined $1,500 by the Florida medical board in 2000 for failing to adequately monitor an anesthesia patient or note that a guide wire was lost in a patient's venous system. Gomez said he doesn't prescribe OxyContin anymore.

Jean R. Charlot Florida 1,100 4,010 No action found.
Kanwar V. Mendiratta Michigan 1,083 1,903

Pleaded guilty in March 2011 to prescribing OxyContin without examining patients. Sentenced to 24 months probation, $150,000 fine. Reprimanded by Michigan's medical board in January 2013. He told regulators that he was duped by his office manager's boyfriend. His lawyer, Todd Flood, also said the doctor's prescription pad had been stolen in 2010.

Andrew M. Giovannini California 1,077 2,444

Surrendered California medical license in May 2012 after accusations of gross negligence and excessive prescribing.

Russell M. Crispell Michigan 1,058 1,075

Faces charges of conspiracy and fraud related to distributing controlled substances. Michigan medical license suspended in June 2010; his license was reinstated with limitations and probation in September 2011. His lawyer, Jim Burdick, said the criminal case is being dismissed because of the doctor's medical infirmity and Crispell does not intend to practice again.

Robert A. Rooney Michigan 1,032 2,047 No action found.
Monica Mehta New Jersey 1,018 3,302

Paid $2.25 million in March 2011 civil settlement with U.S. attorney in New Jersey over allegations of double billing federal health care programs.

Washington Bryan II California 1,001 3,006

Given three years of probation by California medical board in January 2011 for gross negligence, inappropriate prescribing, other wrongdoing.

Eugene J. Gosy New York 990 7,699

Fined $1,000 by New York Office of Professional Medical Conduct in 2009 for deficiencies found in a controlled substances audit. Steve Reszka, who handles public relations for Gosy, said the doctor's narcotics tally could include prescriptions written by six "mid-level" professionals who worked for him in 2010.

Iqbal I. Singh Alabama 912 3,561 No action found.