Methadone clinic facing federal charges

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A doctor at and owner of a Westbrook methadone clinic is facing federal charges alleging he wrote prescriptions for controlled substances without a permit.

On Thursday, a federal grand jury in Portland indicted Dr. Mark S. Shinderman, 63, who has listed addresses of both the Western Promenade in Portland and Chicago, on 68 separate charges dating from 2001 and 2002.

In addition, U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby’s Office filed a 20-count civil complaint against CAP Quality Care, saying the clinic failed to keep accurate records and was unable to prove methadone was not being stolen or improperly prescribed.

Shinderman, who opened CAP Quality Care in 2001 and was the clinic’s director, was indicted on 25 counts of using a Drug Enforcement Agency registration number belonging to another physician, 25 counts of aiding the acquisition of controlled substances by deception, two counts of falsifying records and 15 counts of creating false health care records.

If he is convicted of the charges, Shinderman faces up to four years in prison on each of the charges of using another physicians DEA registration, aiding the acquisition of controlled substances and falsifying records. He would face up to five years in prison on the charges of creating false health care records. In addition, Silsby said he faces a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the charges.

CAP Quality Care did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story by press time.

The grand jury indictment alleges, between November of 2001 and April of 2002, Shinderman wrote prescriptions by using the name and DEA registration number of another doctor at the clinic. Under federal law, any doctor writing prescriptions for controlled substances must have their own DEA registration. Silsby said while Shinderman did apply for a DEA registration, he was never issued one.

Because he wrote prescriptions using another doctor’s name and DEA registration and federal law dictates that pharmacies and health care providers keep accurate logs of who wrote the prescription, Shinderman was charged with falsifying prescription and health care records.

As for the civil complaint, Silsby alleged that CAP Quality Care allowed patients who did not qualify for take-home dosing to leave the clinic with methadone, falsified medical records, and billed Medicaid even when patients did not receive the required counseling and treatment.

Silsby also said records kept by the clinic were so inconsistent and inaccurate that there was no way to know if methadone was being improperly used or stolen from the clinic.

No trial date has been set for either Shinderman’s criminal case or the civil case against CAP Quality Care.

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