Dr. Thomas S. Powers—who in July had his license to practice medicine put on probation by the state and was charged by the federal government with being part of the largest medical fraud operation ever—has now been issued a Cease Practice Order.
The order, which became effective Friday, stems from the Santa Ana physician already violating terms of his probation by testing positive for marijuana, according to the Medical Board of California.
On April 5, Powers and his attorney John D. Martin signed off on the medical board’s license probation order due to what they acknowledged was “gross negligence” and “repeated negligence” in the treatment of four patients, overprescribing them powerful medications, failing to keep adequate records of the prescriptions he wrote them and prescribing himself the muscle relaxer carisoprodol and suboxone, a highly addictive substance that is nonetheless used to treat substance abuse addiction. One of those patients died.
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,” the medical board stated at the time, adding that failure to adhere by those conditions could lead to license revocation proceedings.
“The Respondent has failed to comply with Condition No. 3, Controlled Substances – Abstain From Use, by testing positive for marijuana on July 30, 2017, and Aug. 6, 2017, and failing to check in daily for 10 days,” wrote Kimberly Kirchmeyer, the medical board’s executive director, in Friday’s new order. “Accordingly, Respondent THOMAS S. POWERS, M.D., is prohibited from engaging in the practice of medicine.”
It will be up to the board to decide if and when Powers can resume a medical practice in California, Kirchmeyer adds.
Powers—who specialized in anti-aging and preventive medicine, cosmetic medicine, stress management, pain management, addiction recovery, weight management and regenerative medicine—was accused of poor record keeping by the medical board eight years ago.
Last October, the board accused Powers of prescribing himself pain medication and more sloppy record keeping that led to him overprescribing medications to four patients, including the one who passed away.
In January, Powers’ license to practice medicine in California was placed on probation over his failure to pay his income taxes.
United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in July that Powers was among 13 others in Southern California and more than 400 defendants nationwide 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.
Federal prosecutors specifically alleged that Powers authorized prescriptions for patients he never examined, receiving payments from another defendant, Newport Beach resident Anthony Paduano, who allegedly got 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.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.