“Goodie Bag” Doctor Charged in $3.2 Million Healthcare Fraud Scheme Involving Distribution of Oxycodone

IMG_0264-300x200Andrew M. Berkowitz, M.D., is facing an indictment of 19 counts of healthcare fraud and 23 counts of distributing oxycodone outside of medical treatment following allegations that he provided each of his patients with a “goodie bag” of prescription drugs after each visit, despite their individual ailments. It is also alleged that Berkowitz fraudulently submitted claims for a variety of treatments and prescriptions that were either never performed or were unnecessary.

Berkowitz ran the Philadelphia-based medical practice, A+ Pain Management, where he offered a variety of treatments including physical therapy, chiropractic services, acupuncture, and general pain management. After each patients’ visit they were provided with a tote filled with a wide range of pain-relieving drugs. This included topical analgesics, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, and strong insomnia and anxiety prescriptions. From each goodie bag, Berkowitz was able to claim $4,000 of reimbursements by submitting claims to insurers, for a total of $3.2 million from 2015 to 2018.

The Affirmative Civil Enforcement Strike Force of the U.S. Attorney’s Office is also taking action in this case by filing a civil suit to freeze Berkowitz’s assets until the investigations have been completed.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to bringing all of our enforcement tools to bear against healthcare fraud and drug diversion,” stated U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Today’s case is the latest example of our Criminal Division working in tandem with our ACE Strike Force to pursue fraud and diversion that allegedly put dangerous and addictive pills onto the street in the midst of the ongoing opioid epidemic.”, he added.

Michal T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia location, also commented on the case, “Again and again, we’re seeing these doctors with dollar signs in their eyes, willing to abandon all pretense of professional ethics,”. He added, “As alleged, Berkowitz made millions by diverting dangerous drugs to anyone who wanted them, with Medicare — and ultimately, American taxpayers — picking up the tab. The FBI, with the Philadelphia Police and our federal partners are doggedly working to put medical professionals engaged in this kind of fraud out of business.”.

The maximum sentence for the Berkowitz’s crimes, if found guilty, would be up to 660 years in prison.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Philadelphia Police Department.

To learn more about this case or other instances of healthcare fraud, visit the Jeffrey Newman Law Whistleblower Help Center and blog!