Hyannis Doctor Accused of Illegally Prescribing Opioids Pleads Not Guilty

drugsBARNSTABLE – A Hyannis physician accused of illegally prescribing opioids and defrauding the state’s Medicaid program, MassHealth, pleaded not guilty Monday in Barnstable Superior Court.

Dr. Mohammad Nassery, 63, a doctor who practiced at Ariana Pediatric Neurology in Hyannis, was indicted in May by a grand jury on charges of illegal prescribing (11 counts), Medicaid false claims (9 counts), and larceny over $250 (1 count).

As a result of the charges, Nassery has entered into an agreement with the state medical board to no longer practice medicine.

He was released on personal recognizance Monday and will return to court for a pretrial on September 24.

“Physicians have a responsibility to care for their patients and keep them safe and healthy. Our investigation revealed that Dr. Nassery violated that trust by writing prescriptions he knew were medically unnecessary and providing powerful painkillers to people with documented substance abuse problems,” Attorney General Maura Healey previously said at the time of Nassery’s indictment.

“Through a partnership with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, we are proactively working to ensure that Dr. Nassery’s patients are notified about this case and referred for proper care and treatment by other medical professionals. Our office is committed to ending practices that fuel the disease of addiction and ruin lives.”

Medical records indicated that Nassery continued to prescribe oxycodone—a drug that has been determined to have a high potential for abuse—and other oxycodone-based medications, such as Percocet, to patients despite their documented substance abuse, and after learning that some patients were concurrently enrolled in substance abuse treatment programs or were receiving opioids from other prescribers. Each illegal prescription Nassery wrote allegedly caused pharmacies to unwittingly falsely bill MassHealth for the medication.

Investigators determined that Nassery allegedly insisted on urine-drug screens and MRI tests before prescribing a controlled substance as a “cover” for his unlawful practices. In many cases, Nassery would continue to prescribe oxycodone and other oxycodone-based drugs, despite the fact that some patients were not getting urine tests as directed or urine tests showed that patients were not taking medications as directed.

In addition to the claims of illegal prescribing, the AG’s Office alleges that Nassery billed MassHealth for medically unnecessary or overstated services by charging for simple office visits using a billing code reserved for comprehensive medical exams and complex medical decision-making. As a result, MassHealth paid a higher rate than warranted for the office visits.



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