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June 27, 2013

Jeffersonville ‘pill mill’ doctor loses Indiana license

Marlow’s medical license also revoked in Kentucky; owner found guilty

JEFFERSONVILLE — A former Jeffersonville pain management clinic doctor who admitted to over-prescribing medications will no longer be able to practice in Indiana.

The Indiana Medical Licensing Board voted Thursday to revoke Dr. Lea Ann Marlow’s license, citing unsafe prescribing practices. Her license had been suspended since December when the Indiana Attorney General’s office filed a licensing complaint against Marlow, who worked at the Clark County Wellness Center.

Clark County Wellness LLC was shut down in January after being open in downtown Jeffersonville for less than six months, and after the complaint was filed by the attorney general’s office.

According to the complaint, Marlow allegedly prescribed more than 8,000 prescriptions for 3,489 patients — with more than 95 percent receiving Oxycodone, from January 2012 to December. All of Marlow’s patients received nearly identical treatment in the form of Oxycodone and Diazepam prescriptions and payment from private insurance companies or government entitlement programs was not accepted. Instead the business operated on a “cash-only” basis.

“This case is part of a statewide effort to crack down on physicians and pain clinics that are operating outside the boundaries of state law and appropriate medical practice,” said Attorney General Greg Zoeller in a press release. “Today’s action by the Medical Licensing Board is welcomed as we continue our work to protect Hoosier patients and stop misuse and abuse of addictive controlled substances.”

Marlow’s medical license was revoked in Kentucky on May 2 by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, the result of her alleged prescribing practices and subsequent medical license suspension in Indiana.

SINGLETON GUILTY

Marlow began practicing in Indiana after Kentucky strengthened its regulations on pain clinics that required clinics to be owned and operated by a board certified physician. The Central Kentucky Bariatric and Pain Management clinic, in Georgetown, Ky., where she was working was owned by Ernest William Singleton.

Singleton was found guilty U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Kentucky on all 23 counts of prescription drug and money laundering conspiracies in Kentucky last week. His sentencing hearing has been set for Oct. 10.

Marlow reached a plea agreement in U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Kentucky that stems from her employment at Singleton’s Kentucky pain management clinics. The plea deal could still send her to prison for up to 71 months for conspiracy to distribute and dispense schedule II controlled substances. Marlow is also subject to at least three years of supervised probation upon her release.

With Indiana revoking Marlow’s license, she can no longer practice medicine or petition the board for a new license for at least seven years.

Zoeller said in the release the Indiana General Assembly recently passed Senate Enrolled Act 246, authored by Sen. Ron Groom, R-Jeffersonville, which deals with clinics that dispense controlled substances.

For clinics that prescribe, dispense or administer controlled substances, this measure would require that an owner who does not otherwise hold an Indiana Controlled Substance Registration to obtain a registration for each facility they own in Indiana.

If the bill is signed into law, the Medical Licensing Board could allow the Attorney General’s office to move more quickly in taking enforcement action against practitioners who over-prescribe and obtaining records for an investigation.

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