Attorney General Andy Beshear and his Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse today announced a Richmond Recovery Center doctor and nurse, who were supposed to be working to help treat drug addiction, have been indicted.
On March 21, a Madison County grand jury indicted Dr. Martin A. Barrios, 48, of Lexington, on two counts of Medicaid fraud; one count of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance; and one count of unauthorized dispensing, prescribing, distributing or administering a controlled substance, all Class D felonies.
The grand jury also indicted Stacy J. Engle, 43, of Hazard, on one count of unauthorized dispensing, prescribing, distributing or administering a controlled substance, a Class D felony.
The indictment alleges that Barrios, an addiction treatment provider, caused over $300 in claims to be submitted to Medicaid for both services and prescriptions for dates of services when he was out of town.
Barrios allegedly pre-signed controlled substance prescriptions, for buprenorphine, before the date of service and left them with Engle, a registered nurse, who allegedly provided the unauthorized prescriptions to patients in Barrios’ absence.
“Treatment for addiction should never be the cause of addiction,” Beshear said. “My office continues to work to make sure those who say they are helping to treat addicted patients are truly putting the health and safety of Kentuckians ahead of profits.”
Barrios and Engle will be arraigned April 5. If convicted, Barrios faces a potential sentence of up to 20 years and Engle faces a potential sentence of up to five years.
The Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse of the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, the Appalachia High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Diversion Enforcement Task Force and Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Office of the Inspector General investigated this case.
Beshear early in his administration began looking into a statewide trend in the abuse of buprenorphine medications by clinics that unlawfully prescribe medications to opioid-addicted patients without treatment and counseling for their underlying addictions as state and federal law requires.
In February, Beshear filed a lawsuit against the four owners of The Recovery Center, with locations in Frankfort, Hazard, Jackson, Mount Sterling, London, Paintsville, and Richmond, for illegally prescribing buprenorphine or suboxone – a treatment for opioid addiction – to thousands of Kentucky Medicaid patients.
Since taking office Beshear has been working to find solutions to the state’s drug scourge and hold accountable those fueling the epidemic in each community.
Beshear has also filed lawsuits against opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Ohio-based Cardinal Health and San Francisco-based McKesson Corporation over unfair, misleading and deceptive business practices for excessively distributing opioids to Kentucky. Beshear also took action against Endo Pharmaceuticals for violating state law and directly contributing to opioid-related deaths and overdoses in Kentucky from its drug Opana ER.
Beshear is working with House lawmakers to create a permanent substance abuse trust fund to battle addiction, bolster law enforcement efforts and support prevention efforts across the state.
Beshear has launched the state’s first initiative to allow Kentuckians to safely dispose of opioid medications at home, and his office has been instrumental in numerous drug-related arrests, including working with federal authorities to arrest a fentanyl dealer whose drugs killed several Kentuckians.
His office has given millions to 15 state drug treatment centers across the state in an effort to get addicted Kentuckian’s proper treatment.