Doctor Indicted for Obtaining Controlled Substances (Opioids) by Deception and Health Care Fraud

opioid fraudOn November 29, 2017 Charles J. Gartland, D.O., age 59 of Cochranville, PA was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of opioid diversion and health care fraud.

United States Attorney David J. Freed said the charges of the indictment were handed down based on the belief that Gartland headed up a plan to defraud two health care benefit programs, Wellspan Health of York, PA and Medicare, by writing 221 prescriptions written in the names of three of his family members between the dates of September 2014 and August 2017.  The prescriptions were for the opiates Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Morphine and other controlled substances. The majority of the prescriptions were written for Hydrocodone-Ibuprofen.

The indictment notes that the prescriptions were not written for treatment of the family members but rather for the personal use of Dr. Gartland. Because of this, the prescriptions were not written in the realm of professional medical practice and were not used for a medical reason.

The indictment notes that Gartland filled the prescriptions at four different pharmacies located in York, Chester, and Lancaster counties.  Gartland falsely told the pharmacies that the prescriptions were for his family members so that they would fill them. Because Medicare and WellSpan paid claims on these prescriptions, they were defrauded.

Gartland is charged with 10 counts of health care fraud and 10 counts of obtaining controlled substances by deception.

Gartland surrendered himself and entered a not guilty plea to United States Judge Martin C. Carlson. Carlson then ordered Gartland’s release pending trial. His release was contingent on supervision of the U.S. probation office. At this time, Gartland’s trial is scheduled for February 5, 2018 and will be overseen by Judge Yvette Kane.

The Harrisburg DEA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, and the Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation are investigating the charges. The prosecutor on the case is Attorney Kim Douglas Daniel.

Every individual Health care fraud charge can result in up to 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Individual counts of obtaining possession of a controlled substance by deception can result in a sentence of up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Jeffrey A. Newman represents whistleblowers: 1-800-682-7157