- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for Cohasset Doctor to Pay More than $42,000 for Illegally Charging Patients Cash for Suboxone
Boston — A Cohasset psychiatrist will pay more than $42,000 to resolve allegations that he charged cash for a substance use disorder treatment already covered by the state’s Medicaid program (MassHealth), Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Under the terms of a settlement agreement with the AG’s Office, Dr. Geoffrey Hart of Cohasset will pay $42,425 to resolve allegations that he charged his patients cash fees to receive Suboxone treatment. Pursuant to the settlement, more than half of this amount is required to be returned to current and former patients as restitution. Suboxone and other formulations of buprenorphine are used for the treatment of opioid use disorder by suppressing withdrawal and cravings for opioids.
“Charging cash for suboxone treatment puts up barriers to patients looking to receive this lifesaving care,” said AG Healey. “We will continue to identify and take action against providers who violate state regulations and take advantage of patients.”
By law, MassHealth providers are required to accept payments from MassHealth as payment in full for covered substance use treatment services provided to MassHealth recipients.
The AG’s Office has investigated numerous cases and brought criminal and civil enforcement actions against MassHealth providers who solicited and received cash payments from MassHealth members for covered addiction treatment and continues to actively investigate and prosecute such cases throughout the state. Most recently, a Norfolk practice paid $150,000 to resolve allegations that it charged cash for suboxone. In January 2019, a Dorchester doctor pleaded guilty in connection with charging patients cash for suboxone treatment already covered by MassHealth and was sentenced to house arrest and required to surrender his medical license.
In November 2017, AG Healey sent a letter alerting doctors who provide substance use disorder treatment that the office will take action against those who unlawfully require cash payments from MassHealth members for covered treatments.
Members of the public who are aware of similar practices by other physicians should call the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division at (617) 963-2360 or file a complaint through the Attorney General’s website.
This matter was handled by Managing Attorney Ian Marinoff and Investigations Supervisor Christopher Cecchini, of AG Healey’s Medicaid Fraud Division, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Inspector General.