Investigation leads to pain center closing

A sign reading “We are closed for today” was placed on the front door of The Pain Medicine and Rehabilitation Center in Seymour on Thursday.

That’s because the center is part of an ongoing investigation of Dr. Anthony Alexander into possible overprescribing of prescription painkillers to patients, Medicaid fraud and insurance fraud as outlined in an affidavit.

A search warrant application notes there were eight drug overdose deaths of patients who received controlled substance prescriptions from Alexander or one of his nurse practitioners between 2008 and 2013.

Alexander operates centers in Seymour, 357 Tanger Blvd. Suite 201B, and Jeffersonville, 1730 Williamsburg Drive Suite 4. He is an anesthesiologist and enrolled Medicaid provider. The Seymour location is believed to be his main clinic.

No one was arrested and no criminal charges have been filed, according to a news release from the Office of the Indiana Attorney General.

The Seymour office was closed Thursday, and no one could be reached for comment.

Search warrants were served by investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Indianapolis District Office, Indiana State Police and the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

The search warrant, signed Tuesday by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Richard W. Poynter, allowed investigators to search for and collect documents and records — on paper and stored electronically — along with patient files, computer hardware and software and passwords.

A probable cause affidavit filed as part of the search warrant application stated former employees of Alexander’s clinics have alleged possible over-prescribing of addictive opioid painkillers and fraudulent billing on the part of Alexander.

The attorney general’s office had a consulting physician review a report obtained from INSPECT, Indiana’s prescription drug monitoring program.

“The evidence compiled here depicts a practice that has engaged in an extremely high rate and volume of prescribing of opioids to a large population of patients, both short term and chronically,” the physician noted.

“The rate of prescribing and the combinations of drugs used are signs of a clinical practice that could be chiefly concerned with delivering opioids to patients in high volumes rather than assessing, diagnosing and closely monitoring a host of medical, psychiatric and addiction-related conditions that make these high-volume prescribing patterns extremely dangerous to patients and on the whole, not beneficial.”

Material collected in Thursday’s search will be reviewed in consultation with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, which has jurisdiction to determine whether any criminal charges would be filed.

Jackson County Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant, who helped with the investigation, was not available for comment late Thursday.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller lauded the efforts of the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and investigators from the DEA, state police and MFCU for their work on the case.

At a glance

Members of the public who have information to report about the medical office can contact the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at 800-382-1039.

At a glance

Co-chaired by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force since 2012 has worked to provide research, education and recommendations to the state legislature and medical providers regarding safe and proper prescribing of opioids.

In December 2013, new emergency rules took effect in Indiana to provide more oversight of opioid prescribing in hopes of curbing addiction, doctor shopping and overprescribing.

For information, visit http://bit.ly/1yA8ctT.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.