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COA upholds suspension of Gibson County doctor’s license

May 24, 2018

A Gibson County doctor who violated multiple federal regulations when he impermissibly prescribed prescription narcotics to his girlfriend and other patients has lost his appeal to reinstate his Indiana medical license.

In Gerald G. Gray v. Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, 26A01-1707-PL-1595, southern Indiana osteopathic physician Dr. Gerald Gray hired an unlicensed physician to treat his patients in 2004, paid the physician $20 an hour, then billed the physician’s claims at Gray’s standard rates and under his name. Gray also allowed the unlicensed physician to prescribe controlled substances using his DEA registration number, which eventually led to the surrender of Gray’s DEA number, his guilty plea to Medicaid fraud and his indefinite probation in 2006.

Gray was granted a new DEA registration number the following year, but then lied about the revocation of his original registration when he applied to renew his Indiana Controlled Substance Registration in 2009. Meanwhile, Gray began dating his housekeeper, C.P., in 2009, and wrote her 18 controlled substance prescriptions. Gray later learned that C.P. was a prescription drug addict, so he began writing her prescriptions for addiction treatment narcotics.

The Indiana Pharmacy Board asked a DEA investigator to investigate Gray in May 2011 based on their concerns about the prescriptions he was writing, including those for C.P. and for patients who came from as far away as Illinois. Gray was found to be in violation of multiple DEA regulations, but nonetheless sought to end his probation in 2014.

Then in 2015, the state filed a five-count administrative complaint against Gray’s medical license after learning that a local pharmacist refused to fill his controlled substances prescriptions. The Indiana Medical Licensing Board subsequently found Gray had violated five portions of Indiana Code section 25-1-9-4 and, thus, indefinitely suspended his license.

Gray moved for judicial review, which the Gibson Superior Court denied. The Indiana Court of Appeals also upheld the suspension of Gray’s license, with Judge Rudolph Pyle rejecting Gray’s argument that his suspension was not supported by evidence.

Specifically, Pyle pointed to evidence of the pharmacist refusing to fill Gray’s prescriptions as support for the board’s finding that he improperly prescribed and administered narcotics to C.P. and other patients. Pyle also pointed to Gray’s own admission that he administered certain drugs privately to C.P. and other patients in his office and at his home.

The appellate panel also rejected Gray’s argument that there was a “medical necessity” for the prescriptions he wrote, pointing specifically to the hydrocodone prescription he wrote to treat C.P.’s addiction. There is no medical evidence that hydrocodone is approved for treating addiction withdrawal, Pyle said.

Finally, the panel upheld the board’s authority to suspend Gray even though the state did not call any healthcare professionals as witnesses against him.

“The legislature has recognized that the board, which his composed of six physicians, is able to establish standards and determine whether a practitioner has violated one or more of them,” Pyle wrote.

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