A Hyannis doctor has been indicted on charges that he illegally prescribed opioids and defrauded MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, the attorney general’s office said Monday.
Mohammad Nassery, 63, who practiced at Ariana Pediatric Neurology, was indicted Friday by a Barnstable Superior Court grand jury, the attorney general’s office said.
He faces 11 counts of illegal prescribing, nine counts of making false claims to Medicaid, and one count of larceny over $250. He has surrendered his medical license and will be arraigned at a later date, prosecutors said in a statement.
“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 said.
Healey said that state officials were working to ensure that Nassery’s patients were notified 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.”
Prosecutors said that medical records indicated Nassery prescribed oxycodone and oxycodone-based medications to patients with documented substance abuse problems and after learning some patients were enrolled in treatment programs or were getting opioids from other providers.
The prescriptions he wrote allegedly caused pharmacies to falsely bill MassHealth for the drugs, prosecutors said.
Healey’s office said that the charges were part of her push to “tackle the opioid and heroin epidemic from all angles.”
A message seeking comment left at Nassery’s office wasn’t immediately returned.
State officials say the opioid crisis has swept through cities and towns across Massachusetts, accounting for more than 1,000 deaths last year, the Globe reported Sunday. The town of Plymouth has been especially hard-hit, with 10 drug-related deaths this year as of Saturday.