I often see older physicians caught up in criminal prescribing cases. Part of it may due to impairment and part of it may be due to trusting others including patients. Older physicians need to seriously question their conduct and business arrangements since failure to follow the standard of care can be criminal if it involves scheduled drugs. The standard of care for pain management has changed drastically the last 10 years and the record keeping requirements have also increased.
A recent case illustrates this issue. On October 2, 2018, a federal grand jury indictment against Santa Rosa neurologist Thomas Keller, age 72, was unsealed charging him with distributing Schedule II and IV controlled substances outside the scope of his professional practice and without a legitimate medical need. Dr. Keller was also charged with two counts of health care fraud related to billing. An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and Dr. Keller, like all defendants, is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to the indictment filed September 27, 2018, and unsealed on October 2, 2018, in June of 2017, Dr. Keller, 72, of Santa Rosa, was a licensed physician when he knowingly distributed Oxycodone to a person knowing that the distribution was outside the scope of his professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.