Tennessee physician, wife get 20 years in prison, pay $100M for opioids and fraud

Two pain clinic owners, a Tennessee physician and his wife, were each sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $50 million apiece in restitution for defrauding insurers, providing unnecessary services and illegally distributing opioids, the Justice Department said March 7.

Mark Murphy, MD, and Jennifer Murphy, both 66 years old, owned and operated North Alabama Pain Services in Decatur and Madison, both shuttered since 2017. Dr. Murphy wrote prescriptions for more than 10 million opioid pills, including millions of oxycodone 30 mg tablets, over a five-year span, the Justice Department said.

Dr. Murphy was the only physician at the locations. Some of his patients went months or years without seeing him during their monthly visits, despite continuously receiving opioid prescriptions he pre-signed, the Justice Department said. 

In the same same period, Ms. Murphy ordered tens of millions of dollars of unnecessary items and services that were paid for by Medicare, Tricare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and other insurers, the Justice Department said. Taxpayer-funded insurers were billed more than $280 million as a result of the fraud and kickback scheme.

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