Milford Dr. gets prison in undercover probe of Norwalk pill mill clinic
An undercover investigation of a Norwalk clinic whose two doctors routinely wrote narcotic pain killer prescriptions for cash payments resulted in another prison term.
Bharat Patel, the 71-year-old founder of Immediate Health Care which later became Family Health Urgent Care on Norwalk’s Main Street was sentenced to 54 months in prison Friday by Senior U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton.
He wrote hundreds of medically unnecessary prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone, and received $158,523.95 as a result of this and related criminal conduct. He has forfeited this money to the government and been detained since his arrest on July 12, 2017..
Patel, who residents in Milford, worked at Stamford Hospital while a young doctor.
“For almost 40 years, residents and patients in and around Fairfield and New Haven Counties have been served by this universally-like, community-driven doctor,” said Stanley A. Twardy Jr., his lawyer and a former U.S. Attorney for Connecticut. He provided nearly 90 letters on Patel’s behalf and called him a leader in India and its community of residents here.
Twardy added that Patel has lost his good name, reputation and medical license as a result of this prosecution.
Current U.S. Attorney John “Bull” Durham had a different opinion.
“A lengthy prison term is appropriate for any physician who abandons his oath and profits by selling prescriptions for opioids, by overprescribing these highly addictive drugs to patients - many of whom illegally distributed the drugs they received, and by defrauding our healthcare system,” said Durham. “This doctor’s criminal conduct contributed to the ongoing opioid epidemic as tens of thousands of narcotic pills were dispensed to individuals who didn’t need them and shouldn’t have them.”
Last month Dr. Ramil Mansourov, 49, of Tokeneke Road, who bought the clinic from Patel but also hired him to work there pleaded guilty to health care fraud and money laundering. He will be sentenced Dec. 5 by Arterton.
Mansourov was accused of billing Medicaid for nearly $5 million for home, office and nursing home visits that never occurred. Some of that money was transferred to a Swiss bank account. He faces up to 30 years in prison.
Mansourov also is expected to be ordered to forfeit $50,000 for providing narcotic painkillers to patients who did not medically need them and in some instances allegedly resold them.
The pair was indicted as part of a nationwide probe into the over-prescription of narcotic pain-killers and health care fraud which charged 115 doctors, nurses and medical professionals and involved $1.3 billion in false billings
Patel was arrested and his home and office searched on July 12, 2017, by federal agents. Mansourov allegedly fled to Montreal where he was apprehended the following day by Canada Border Services agents on an immigration charge.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Kale has a 12-minute black and white video which shows a cooperating witness sliding three $100 bills to Patel in March 2017 after telling the doctor to write him several prescriptions for narcotics with specific dates.
Documents filed by Kale in federal court allege that Patel repeatedly wrote narcotic pain killer prescriptions for addicts and dealers in exchange for $100. Some of the prescriptions were for people he never saw and many were paid for by Medicaid and Medicare. One of them was a convicted Norwalk drug dealer..
Kale also claimed that nearly 40 participants in a Norwalk Narcotics Anonymous meeting has been Patel’s patients at one time.