CINCINNATI (TIP): An Indian origin owner and operator of a Hamilton pain clinic pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Sept 23 to illegal distribution of controlled substances, health care fraud and violating the anti-kickback statute.
Nilesh Jobalia, 54, of Cincinnati, entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost; Anthony Groeber, Executive Director, State Medical Board of Ohio; Steven Schierholt, Executive Director, State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy; and Stephanie B. McCloud, Administrator, Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, announced the plea.
“Today Dr. Jobalia accepted responsibility for trafficking drugs by means of a prescription pad, health care fraud, and receiving kickbacks,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “He faces a substantial term of imprisonment for his crimes.”
According to court documents, Jobalia owned and operated Cincinnati Centers for Pain Relief in Hamilton, Ohio from March 2013 through December 2017. Although the practice was not licensed as such, it operated almost exclusively as a pain clinic. Patients were prescribed fentanyl, oxycodone, methadone, morphine and other controlled substances on many occasions without actually being seen by the doctor.
Jobalia’s practice also billed Medicare, Medicaid and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for medically unnecessary prescriptions and services not rendered. For example, prescriptions to one customer alone caused the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to pay more than $450,000 for medically unnecessary drugs. In total, Jobalia caused more than $2 million in false claims.
“Our investigators started looking at Dr. Jobalia in 2015 for suspicious prescribing, and we’re pleased to see this case come to a just end,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “Even more so, we’re pleased to see him out of practice and out of the BWC system. Our injured workers are better off.”
Jobalia also received more than $103,000 from a pharmaceutical company for purported speaking engagements about a fentanyl spray, a medication intended for breakthrough cancer pain.