Doctor convicted in opioid scheme granted an Iowa medical license

By: - November 29, 2021 12:59 pm

The Iowa Board of Medicine has granted a license to a physician currently on probation for his role in a criminal scheme to distribute opioids to addicts. (Photo by Getty Images)

The Iowa Board of Medicine has granted a license to a physician currently on probation for his role in a criminal scheme to distribute opioids to addicts.

Dr. Parth S. Bharill, now 63, entered a plea of guilty in September 2019 to one felony count of conspiracy to distribute suboxone outside the usual course of professional practice. Federal court records show the charge stemmed from an allegation that Bharill, from November 2014 through January 2018, had participated in a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid by issuing illegitimate prescriptions for drugs paid for by the taxpayer-funded programs.

As part of that scheme, Bharill and four other physicians were accused of giving Chris Handa, a manager of Redirections Treatment Advocates, a West Virginia addictions clinic, pre-signed blank prescriptions for opioids. Handa and would then fill out the prescription forms for individuals who visited the clinic.

Prosecutors alleged RTA was a volume business, accepting cash or credit cards for office visits priced at $120 to $175. In some cases, Handa or RTA’s owner, Jennifer Hess, signed prescriptions for the doctors, some of whom who were paid based on the number of patients who came through RTA’s door.

In May 2018, Bharill was charged with 12 counts of health care fraud in West Virginia. After pleading guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to distribute suboxone, he was sentenced to five years of probation, including six months of home confinement, and ordered to pay $73,177 in restitution, fines and assessments.

In August 2019, the Florida Board of Medicine suspended Bharill’s medical license. In March 2020, the West Virginia Board of Medicine revoked his license and the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine placed his license on indefinite probation and barred him from prescribing controlled substances. All of those actions were based on the criminal indictment or guilty plea.

Under the terms of his recent agreement with the Iowa Board of Medicine, Bharill has been issued a license to practice in Iowa but has been barred from prescribing or administering controlled substances in most situations. The ban does not prevent Bharill from administering controlled substances during the performance of gastroenterology procedures when needed for completion of the procedure.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.

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