Senator Goes After High-Prescribing Physicians

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Iowa Senator Charles Grassley is ramping up efforts to monitor over-prescribing physicians who abuse the country's Medicaid program, and he has mailed letters to 34 states expressing his concern, according to a ProPublica report.

He asked each state what steps they were taking to investigate physicians who have higher rates of issuing prescriptions for antipsychotics, anti-anxiety drugs and painkillers for Medicaid patients. Sen. Grassley noted these drugs have addictive effects, making them more susceptible for fraud and abuse by both prescribers and patients.

In his letter to Ohio, Sen. Grassley said one physician in the state wrote 13,825 prescriptions for an anti-psychotic in 2009. That evens out to 54 prescriptions per weekday — a rate Sen. Grassley called "quite shocking" and one that cost the state $6.7 million.

He also wrote a letter to Maine, citing a physician who wrote 1,867 prescriptions for OxyContin in 2009. That rate is nearly twice of the second-highest prescriber in the state.

States have been asked to report back to Sen. Grassley by Feb. 13 what action they have taken against these top prescribers.

Related Articles on Medicaid Fraud:

Senators Ask Marilyn Tavenner About Her Fraud-Fighting Plans
New York Settles Charges of Medicaid Overbilling
Government Triples Money Recovered From Medicaid Fraud Prosecutions

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