Virginia pain clinic owner pleads guilty to $4M Medicare, Medicaid fraud

A Virginia pain clinic owner will pay $4 million in restitution for billing Medicare and Medicaid for non-medically necessary controlled substances. 

According to a July 28 news release from the Justice Department, John Barnes pleaded guilty to federal drug and healthcare fraud conspiracies. 

Mr. Barnes owned several mental health clinics in Virginia. According to the Justice Department, when Mr. Barnes took over ownership of the clinics, the clinics prioritized "revenue maximization over patient care." Mr. Barnes directed clinic staff to follow the opinion of non-medical professionals in prescribing opioids to patients. 

Time with non-medical professionals was improperly billed to Medicare and Medicaid, according to the news release. The clinic also implemented a random drug screening policy designed to maximize insurance reimbursements, the Justice Department said. 

Mr. Barnes faces up to five years in prison.  

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