UPDATE, JULY 18, 2:18 P.M.: Dr. Thomas S. Powers’ license to practice medicine in California was put on probation for three years effective July 14, the same day we reported in the original post about serious federal fraud charges against him.
According to the Medical Board of California order Powers and his attorney John D. Martin signed off on April 5, the doctor demonstrated “gross negligence” and “repeated negligence” in the treatment of four patients, overprescribing them powerful medications and failing to keep adequate records of the prescriptions he wrote them. The board also dinged Powers for prescribing himself the muscle relaxer carisoprodol and suboxone, a highly addictive substance that is nonetheless used to treat substance abuse addiction. During probation, Powers “shall not order, prescribe, dispense, administer, furnish, or possess any controlled substances listed in Schedules II and III, except anabolic steroids; and is prohibited from supervising physician assistants and advanced practice nurses,” according to the medical board. Failure to adhere by those conditions of his probation could lead to license revocation proceedings.
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 14, 5:35 A.M.: When we wrote about Dr. Thomas S. Powers in January, the Santa Ana physician’s license to practice medicine in the state had been suspended due to his failure to pay income taxes.
That’s not to be confused with the time we wrote about Powers in October, when he popped up on the Medical Board of California radar for prescribing himself pain medication and sloppy record keeping that led to overprescribing medications to four patients, including one who died.
And that’s not to be confused with Dr. Powers—who specialized in anti-aging and preventive medicine, cosmetic medicine, stress management, pain management, addiction recovery, weight management and regenerative medicine—previously being accused by the state of poor record keeping, eight years ago.
The worst may be yet to come for Dr. Powers, who along with 13 others in Southern California and more than 400 defendants nationwide has been charged in federal court in Los Angeles with being part of the largest health-care fraud operation ever undertaken, with false billings totaling about $1.3 billion, authorities announced Thursday.
(The announcement was made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who can’t stay out of Navel Gazing this week.)
Federal prosecutors allege that Powers authorized prescriptions for patients he never examined, receiving payments from another defendant, Newport Beach resident Anthony Paduano, who allegedly received about $1.2 million for referring the prescriptions to a local pharmacy that billed more than $4.8 million to TRICARE, the healthcare system for military personnel and other Department of Defense employees.
Dr. Jeffrey Olsen, a 57-year-old sports medicine physician who resides in Laguna Beach and practices in Newport Beach, is accused by prosecutors of having sold hundreds of drug prescriptions to addicts in other states, without ever seeing the “patients” for examinations.
Olsen charged fees as high as $3,000 to prescribe whatever drug customers wanted, selling more than 1.2 million pills of narcotics and thousands of pills of drugs such as Xanax and Soma, prosecutors allege.