- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 10, 2006

A District-based psychiatrist whose license recently was suspended over drug possession now faces criminal charges stemming from a federal probe into his handling of Medicaid claims.

Federal prosecutors say Dr. David T. Hackney used phony Medicaid claims to buy narcotic painkillers such as oxycodone.

According to charging documents, Dr. Hackney wrote prescriptions for large numbers of painkillers using patients’ Medicaid or Medicare information, picked up the drugs and never delivered them to patients.

From August 2005 to May 2006, he wrote prescriptions for more than 3,800 pills. During one nine-day span, from Nov. 7 to Nov. 16, he wrote prescriptions for more than 530 pills, according to prosecutors.

Dr. Hackney was charged Thursday in federal court in the District on felony charges of health care fraud and obtaining a controlled substance. He could not be reached for comment. A woman who yesterday answered a phone number for him listed in city health-department records said he did not live there.

The District’s Board of Medicine suspended Dr. Hackney’s license to practice medicine in October.

The decision was based, in part, on Dr. Hackney’s arrest in Prince George’s County on April 16, according to city records.

During a traffic stop, a police officer found a small amount of crack cocaine in his pocket, according to the medical board.

Dr. Hackney admitted using crack cocaine the night before and told the officer he was “just trying to make it home,” the board found.

In addition, the medical board also cited nearly a dozen instances in which Dr. Hackney filled out prescriptions for narcotic painkillers that “were not for a legitimate medical purpose.”

According to federal charging documents, Dr. Hackney’s registration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to write prescriptions for controlled substances expired on Oct. 31, 2005.

Prosecutors say Dr. Hackney did not have valid or current DEA registration when he purportedly wrote prescriptions for the 3,500 pain pills.

Pharmacists were under the “false impression” that the patients for whom Dr. Hackney wrote prescriptions would be receiving the medication, according to charging documents.

On some occasions, Dr. Hackney would wait at the pharmacy for the prescription to be filled, pick it up himself, then leave with the painkillers, prosecutors say.

Under federal law, health care fraud charges carry up to 20 years in prison.

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