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Miller Place pharmacist must pay $250G in fake prescription case

A Miller Place pharmacist has to repay more than $250,000 and can't participate in Medicaid for a year as part of a settlement for filing false prescriptions for 17 dead patients, the state Office of the Medicaid Inspector General said.

Bryan McCutcheon, owner of Echo Pharmacy in Miller Place, agreed to the settlement after an investigation found the false claims represented prescriptions purchased and dispensed to residents of a nursing home's in-house pharmacy between June 2002 and December 2006, the state agency said in a release Monday.

A spokeswoman said the office would not reveal the name of the nursing home.

Auditors and investigators said after reviewing claims and inventory, "a number of the drugs allegedly delivered to patients were not supported by evidence of drug purchases from wholesalers," the release said.

Medicaid Inspector General James Sheehan said the settlement "demonstrates the effectiveness of our data mining, audit and investigative teams."

Sheehan said in the release his office is committed to preventing "fraud, waste or abuse in the Medicaid program, whether it involves billing for deceased patients, double billing, or using incorrect coding procedures."

The investigation is tied to the agency's deceased patients initiative, which through matching state records is designed to identify New York providers who have billed Medicaid for services after the death of a patient, spokeswoman Wanda Fischer said.

McCutcheon began making restitution payments April 1 and already has repaid $44,058, the agency said. Overall, McCutcheon will repay $269,173, plus interest. Also as part of the agreement, McCutcheon and the pharmacy will be excluded from participating in the Medicaid program for one year, effective March 30, 2010.

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