Archive

5 Western Pa. medical professionals indicted for fraud, illegal prescriptions | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

5 Western Pa. medical professionals indicted for fraud, illegal prescriptions

Renatta Signorini
webpills
Patrick Sison/AP

Five area medical professionals — four doctors and one operations manager — are accused as part of a nationwide effort in which 601 people were arrested for alleged participation in health care fraud schemes, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Scott. W. Brady.

Officials listed in a Thursday news release the local professionals who are facing federal court action in connection with the sweep:

•Dr. Peter James Ridella is accused of unlawfully prescribing oxycodone and Percocet, both opioid pain killers, and submitting false insurance claims. Authorities did not say where the alleged actions occurred. He was set to plead guilty Friday, according to a spokeswoman.

•Dr. Michael Cash is accused of unlawfully prescribing 32,000 doses of buprenorphine, a substance that can be used to treat opioid addictions, and submitting false insurance claims while working at SKS Associates Inc. in Johnstown.

•Dr. Ruth Jones is accused of unlawfully prescribing 22,382 doses of buprenorphine and submitting false insurance claims while working at SKS Associates Inc. She is set to plead guilty Friday, officials said.

•Christopher Handa pleaded guilty on Thursday for submitting unlawful prescriptions for 18,146 doses of buprenorphine and submitting false insurance claims while he was the operations manager at Redirections Treatment Advocates, a Suboxone clinic in Washington.

•Dr. Omar Almusa of Pittsburgh pleaded guilty Wednesday to unlawfully prescribing Vicodin, a pain reliever, and submitting false insurance claims. He was indicted in March. Authorities did not say where the alleged actions occurred.

His medical license, issued in 2003, was suspended three months ago, according to state records.

“These were trusted health care professionals,” said Chad Yarbrough, acting special agent in charge for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “They had an obligation to prescribe an appropriate amount of opioid medications and only what was necessary. Instead, they betrayed that trust and contributed to the growing opioid epidemic.”

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter @byrenatta.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.