Bettendorf doctor pleads guilty to health care fraud

Bolger wrote prescriptions for patients in 16 states where he was not licensed

Dr. Paul Matthew Bolger, 45, of Bettendorf, Iowa, pleaded guilty to 18 counts of false statements relating to health care matters and five counts of introduction of misbranded drugs.

Bolger also pleaded guilty to one count of false statements relating to health care matters for conduct occurring in California and transferred from the Central District of California to the Southern District of Iowa, announced United States Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel. Bolger will be sentenced by Chief United States District Court Judge John A. Jarvey on January 9, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. at the Davenport Federal Courthouse.

According to the Department of Justice, Bolger knowingly and willfully made false statements by signing multiple prescription forms authorizing prescription drugs and indicating prescriptions were medically necessary. Bolger signed and attested to the validity of each prescription based only on an intake form
recorded by non-medical staff (generated by call centers outside of the United States), and an
accompanying prescription form.

Bolger signed each of the prescription forms without talking to the patient, conducting a physical examination, or reviewing medical records. These signed prescription forms were then faxed to DCRX, a Florida pharmacy; or Haoeyou, a California pharmacy; the pharmacies filled the prescriptions, mailed them to the patients, and billed Tricare. Tricare is a federal health care benefit program providing medical care for U.S. military members and their dependents. Tricare reimbursed the pharmacies for the fraudulent compounded medication prescriptions.

Bolger authorized a total of 1,375 prescriptions for compounded medications from March through April of 2015. Based on 284 patients and 763 prescriptions Bolger authorized and filled by DCRX, Tricare paid approximately $2,920,354. Based on 32 patients and 112 similar prescriptions filled by Haoeyou (or its designee), Tricare paid approximately $566,836.

Bolger additionally wrote prescriptions for patients in 16 states where he was not licensed and misbranded those prescriptions. Bolger issued misbranded prescriptions for 11 Alabama patients, costing Tricare $268,000.

Approximately 105 patients, located in states where he was licensed, received prescriptions authorized by Bolger, costing Tricare approximately $681,000. The maximum penalty for counts related to false statements is five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and a special assessment of $100 per count. The maximum penalty for misbranding charges is one year in prison, a $100,000 fine, one year of supervised release, and a special assessment of $25 per count. Bolger agreed to pay at least
$10,000 in restitution to Tricare.

Bolger's lawyer, Jeffrey B. Lang of Lane & Waterman, released a statement Thursday:

"Dr. Bolger is a highly respected physician in the Quad Cities. During a very brief period in early 2015, he made a terrible mistake in authorizing prescriptions for compounded topical pain creams. Those creams
contained no controlled substances of any kind. For issuing those prescriptions during the course of two months, he received less than $11,000. When issues surrounding these prescriptions were brought to his
attention, Dr. Bolger immediately self-reported this matter to the Iowa Board of Medicine and also the other states where he is licensed. Those state medical boards that have reached decisions about Dr. Bolger have concluded – based upon medical standards – that he should be allowed
to continue practicing medicine."


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