Physician Practice Roundup—5 doctors from addiction clinic charged; Banner Health gets doctors on board with more advanced practitioners

A physician's stethoscope
Five doctors have been charged as the government continues its opioid crackdown. (Getty/millionsjoker)

5 doctors from addiction clinic face drug charges

They were supposed to be helping patients addicted to opioids. Instead, five Pennsylvania physicians were charged with unlawfully distributing buprenorphine, a drug used to treat people with addiction, and defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.

The doctors from Redirections Treatment Advocates, LLC, an opioid addiction treatment practice that had offices in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, were indicted on charges of unlawfully dispensing controlled substances and healthcare fraud.

Law enforcement officials said the doctors, who worked as contractors, provided buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone, to patients with substance use disorders for cash at the clinics. (U.S. Attorney’s office announcement)

How Banner Health tackled doctors' skepticism over increased use of advanced practitioners

WASHINGTON—When Banner Health wanted to rethink its approach to care delivery, leaders at the system decided to take advantage of the advanced practitioners in its ranks.

There was one major hurdle, however: getting the system's doctors on board.

Advanced practice clinicians, such as physician assistants or advanced practice nurses, can play a crucial part in building a more consumer-centric healthcare experience and addressing workforce shortages. But physicians may be hesitant to buy in, said James Agnew, R.N., the system's regional vice president of delivery, speaking at the World Health Care Congress. (FierceHealthcare)

In Florida, medical marijuana program attracting doctors with troubled records

An investigation by the Tampa Bay Times has found that Florida’s medical marijuana program is attracting some doctors with troubled histories.

Of the 1,432 doctors in the program, which allows them to certify patients to be eligible to buy medical marijuana, 262 doctors—or almost 1 in 5—had some sort of trouble on their record, the newspaper said. Some have been disciplined or charged with a crime and some have had their licenses in other states revoked. The statistics raise the question of whether Florida’s system makes it too difficult for ‘good’ physicians to participate. (Tampa Bay Times article)

New recommendations for screening for prostate cancer

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released its final recommendation on screening men for prostate cancer today.

The task force recommends men ages 55 to 69 make an individual decision about prostate cancer screening with their clinician. The USPSTF recommends against prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer in men age 70 years and older.

The recommendations are likely to continue to generate controversy. In a statement, the American Urological Association said it agreed that a number of older men are not candidates for testing but that some older, healthier men may benefit and should talk with their doctors about whether such testing is right for them. (USPSTF recommendation)