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Attorney General Josh Stein Wins $1.45 Million Settlement Against Pill Mill Operator

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Contact:
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein reached a $1.45 million settlement against South Carolina clinic Med First Immediate Care and Family Practice, P.A. (Med First). The settlement resolves allegations that Med First was operating as a pill mill and filing false claims with Medicare and Medicaid for unnecessary urine drug tests and lengthy complex office visits that never happened. Because Med First was in Dillon, South Carolina, North Carolina Medicaid recipients visited the clinic for care. North Carolina’s share of the settlement will go to the North Carolina Medicaid program and the North Carolina Schools Fund.

“We are continuing to confront a deadly opioid crisis, brought on in part by irresponsible health care providers who flooded their community with unnecessary opioid pills,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “My office will continue working with our state and federal partners to hold accountable providers who defraud North Carolina taxpayers and harm our people.”

During the relevant period, most of the patients who were receiving care from Med First were receiving opioid therapy. Between January 2015 and August 2019, Med First allegedly submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for urine drug tests that either screen for the presence of drugs or identify the concentration of those drugs in a patient’s system. Med First performed these tests without first determining whether patients needed the test, and then failed to use the results to change the opioid prescription. The clinic also allegedly billed for highly complex office visits, when in reality, they spent little time with patients and simply refilled their prescriptions for opioid pain pills.

This case was investigated and prosecuted in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina and the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The lawsuit is captioned United States of America and the State of North Carolina ex rel. Piramzadian v. Med First Immediate Care and Family Practice, P.A., et al., No. 20-CV-352 (M.D.N.C.).  The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability. The settlement agreement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by Med First.

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