- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for In Settlement With AG, North Andover-Based Treatment Center to Pay $600,000 for Illegally Charging Patients Cash for Suboxone
Boston — The owners of the North Andover-based Center for Psychiatric Medicine (CPM) will pay $612,000 for charging cash for opioid addiction treatment already covered by the state’s Medicaid Program (MassHealth), Attorney General Healey announced today.
The court found on summary judgment that from October 2010 to November 2015, CPM and its owners, Joseph Campione and Thomas J. McLaughlin, charged its patients cash fees to receive Suboxone treatment. Suboxone and other formulations of buprenorphine are used for the treatment of opioid use disorder by suppressing withdrawal and cravings for opioids.
“This center stole from its own patients seeking treatment for opioid addiction and put up barriers that could have had fatal consequences,” said AG Healey.
Prosecutors allege that patients were told that CPM did not accept MassHealth, despite the fact that CPM was a MassHealth provider. CPM also told patients that they could avoid required weekly therapy sessions and monthly physician visits by paying cash. CPM regularly charged patients fees as high as $325 for initial services and continued charging them monthly fees as high as $200 for additional visits. MassHealth providers are required by law to accept payments from MassHealth as payment in full for substance use treatment services provided to its members.
The AG’s Office filed a civil complaint in Essex Superior Court in April 2015 and won on summary judgment. In its written findings, the Court made it clear that a providers’ solicitation of money for treatment covered by MassHealth is strictly prohibited by MassHealth regulations, as well as state and federal law. This settlement will provide 100 percent restitution for all patients wrongfully charged by CPM. MassHealth members eligible for restitution will be contacted in the coming weeks. Any funds not able to be returned to MassHealth members will be transferred to the Commonwealth’s Unclaimed Property Division, where it will be held until claimed by its rightful owner.
The AG’s Office has brought numerous 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.
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 is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Jennifer Goldstein and Anthony Vargas, Investigation Supervisor Chris Cecchini and Investigator Shelby Stephens, all of AG Healey’s Medicaid Fraud Division. MassHealth assisted in this investigation.