AG alleges prescription drug scheme at clinic

January 17, 2014
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Scott Beveridge / Observer-Reporter
The Pittsburgh Healthworx Clinic at 1112 Fells Church Road in Rostraver Township Order a Print
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The state attorney general’s office filed charges against a chiropractor and two doctors accused of illegally prescribing pain medication to drug-addicted patients for more than six years at a Rostraver Township clinic.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane Friday announced the charges brought against the three physicians for allegedly writing the illegal prescriptions and, in some cases, bilking insurance providers at the Pittsburgh Healthworx clinic at 1112 Fells Church Road.

“The evidence in this case will show that these physicians believed they were above the law and, what’s worse, they allegedly preyed upon drug-addicted patients to line their own pockets,” Kane said.

Charged in the case, following a statewide grand jury investigation, are Jack Taylor, 59, of 420 First Ave., Belle Vernon, Mark Boles, 59, of 1114 Castle Hill Drive, Monroeville, and Edward Sweeney, 65, of 131 Northview Drive, Shaler Township.

The grand jury indictment alleges many patients at Pittsburgh Healthworx were “drug-seeking and/or drug-addicted individuals” who were impaired or “high” when they arrived at the clinic between 2007 and 2013. Former employees at the clinic said they found it unusual that Taylor, a chiropractor, continued to see those patients despite concerns they were abusing prescription medications. A patient drug-testing policy within the clinic was also scuttled in early 2009, the indictment claims.

Sweeney allegedly told investigators that more than 50 of his patients were receiving prescriptions that were not necessary. Sweeney wrote in a logbook that he had concerns about one patient who continuously failed drug tests, but was brought back by Taylor for more examinations, according to the indictment.

Former doctors told the grand jury that Taylor continued to bring back other former patients despite them being discharged for drug abuse.

In all, investigators allege that the doctors illegally prescribed OxyContin, oxycodone, hydrocodone and other controlled substances to patients.

“Doctors are supposed to help free patients from the grip of addiction, not put them into the throes of it,” Kane said.

The indictment also alleges that Taylor accepted long-term disability insurance payments in excess of $45,000 over 18 months despite still working at his chiropractic clinic.

Taylor faces two counts of corrupt organizations and one count each of insurance fraud and theft by deception. He did not immediately return a phone call to his clinic.

Boles and Sweeney are both charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, and one count each of dealing in proceeds of illegal activity, Medicaid fraud, unlawful prescribing, criminal conspiracy and prescribing to a drug-dependent person.

The Pittsburgh Healthworx clinic in Rostraver is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

Rostraver police and the FBI assisted the state attorney general’s office with the investigation.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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