Sewickley doctor pleads guilty to unlawful distribution, health care fraud
A former physician at a Washington County Suboxone clinic pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges of unlawfully distributing controlled substances, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and health care fraud, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said.
Michael Bummer, 39, of Sewickley pleaded guilty to three counts before U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab in Pittsburgh.
In connection with the guilty plea, Schwab was advised that Bummer was a physician practicing at Redirections Treatment Advocates, a Suboxone clinic, located in Washington.
Bummer admitted that he and others conspired together to create and submit unlawful prescriptions for buprenorphine, known as Subutex and Suboxone, and then unlawfully dispensed those controlled substances to other persons. Bummer also admitted to committing health care fraud for causing fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicaid and Medicare for payments to cover the costs of the unlawfully prescribed buprenorphine.
Suboxone is a drug used to treat opioid addiction.
Schwab scheduled sentencing Jan 9. The law provides for a total per count sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $500,000.00, or both, for the controlled substances offenses.
Brady said Bummer faces an additional maximum term of 10 years and fine of $250,000.00 for the health care fraud charge. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The investigation leading to the filing of charges in this case was conducted by the Western Pennsylvania Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, which combines personnel and resources from multiple federal and state agencies to combat the growing prescription opioid epidemic.