A new scam in the addiction/recovery industry involves faked urinalysis tests, but it isn’t the patients doing the scamming. Prosecutors say that a medical clinic in Jeffersonville, Indiana, headed by a doctor named raided Jeffrey Campbell, took thousands of urine tests meant to test for prescription and illegal drugs. Then he ignored the results completely, dispensing opiates and other addictive drugs as he pleased.
The tests were in place to help prevent addiction and be a “red flag” for doctors monitoring highly addictive drugs. If doctors see too much of an opioid in a person’s system, or unprescribed drugs such as marijuana or ecstasy, the doctor is supposed to refer the patient to addiction recovery professional and make a plan to stop prescribing highly addictive drugs.
Prosecutors say Campbell millions of dollars from Medicare for urine tests run at his office lab. He failed to act when test results revealed patients were abusing prescription and illegal drugs, yet still given opiates without any medical need. Prosecutors say that at least four patients died from drug-related causes under his care. Others were allowed to feed their addiction unchecked, failing up to a dozen drug tests but continuing to be given addictive prescriptions. One patient had failed 46 urine tests and had a history of overdoses, but nobody stopped him from getting more opioid pills.
The addiction/treatment industry has seen its share of scams, as has the medical industry. In addiction treatment, the scams are usually meant to steal money from insurers, both private and Medicaid. They typically taking advantage of people with substance abuse disorders.
If a person with a substance abuse disorder is seeing a doctor for pain, these safeguards are put in place to find the abuse and treat it. However, you cannot trust every pain doctor to do their job, and this case in Indiana shows how these policies fail when done in bad faith. Campbell billed millions in drug tests, but never stopped any patients who were abusing them. In fact, acting like a drug dealer instead of a doctor, he continued to bill for drug testing and continued to prescribe pills.
Spending on urine testing and related genetic tests quadrupled from 2011 to 2014 to an estimated $8.5 billion a year, according to the Kaiser Foundation.
As far as Campbell, he is accused of having 19 patients under his care who failed tests repeatedly. Prosecutors say in total, he made over six million dollars for the failed tests over the years.
Campbell argued his practice attracts many difficult patients who have “no other option” to seek relief from pain. “Nobody else will see these people,” he said. He ordered the drug tests, he said, because his patients were drug users and none “ever just uses one drug. They use everything they can get their hands on.”