Former physician pleads guilty in $2.3M 'pill mill' scheme

A former Alabama physician pleaded guilty in federal court alongside her wife for her role in a $2.3 million fraud scheme involving illegal opioid prescription, reported June 10.

Francene Aretha Gayle, MD, and Schara Monique Davis billed payers millions of dollars for patient visits that Dr. Gayle was supposed to have conducted but were instead conducted by other clinic staff. These patients were also allegedly given opioid prescriptions pre-signed by Dr. Gayle. 

Both admitted they billed insurers for office visits when they didn't see the patients for several years. According to the report, Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross paid more than $2.3 million for office visits billed under Dr. Gayle’s name.

Dr. Gayle practiced at three clinics in Huntsville, Athens and Killen, all in North Alabama, which were shut down after her license was revoked. Ms. Davis owned the practice and operated as business manager.

Dr. Gayle pleaded guilty to five counts of unlawful drug distribution, one count of healthcare fraud conspiracy and one count of wire fraud conspiracy. Ms. Davis pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud conspiracy and one count of wire fraud conspiracy. 

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