Ex-Georgia hospital CEO convicted of 102 federal charges

John Michael Gowder, the former CEO of Union General Hospital in Blairsville, Ga., has been convicted on 102 counts related to illegally obtaining more than 15,000 doses of prescription pain medication for no medical purpose, according to the Department of Justice.

Mr. Gowder was convicted alongside James Heaton, MD, after a two-week jury trial.

According to information presented at trial, Dr. Heaton illegally prescribed hydrocodone and oxycodone to Mr. Gowder from 2012 through June 2015. Of the more than 15,000 hydrocodone and oxycodone pills Dr. Heaton prescribed to Mr. Gowder during that period, only six of the prescriptions were recorded in Mr. Gowder's patient file.

Mr. Gowder filled the prescriptions at pharmacies in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina to try to conceal the large numbers of pills Dr. Heaton prescribed him, according to the Justice Department.

Dr. Heaton was also convicted of 27 counts of issuing prescriptions for hydrocodone, oxycodone and methadone to two female patients outside of the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.

Sentencing for Mr. Gowder and Dr. Heaton has not been scheduled.

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