Drug clinic head arraigned on fraud charges

— File photo by Nelson Sigelman

Dr. Punyamurtula Kishore, 61, was arraigned October 6 in Suffolk Superior Court after a Suffolk Grand Jury returned indictments against him and three other individuals charged in connection with allegedly running an intricate “kickback” scheme and fraudulently billing MassHealth nearly $3.8 million, according to a press release from the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Dr. Kishore owns a string of 29 branch clinics across Massachusetts, including one in Vineyard Haven, specializing in addiction and alcohol testing and treatment.

Massachusetts State Police assigned to the attorney general’s (AG) office arrested Dr. Punyamurtula Kishore, 61, at his Brookline house September 20.

Dr. Kishore allegedly used bribes or “kickbacks”— taking several different forms — to induce sober house owners to require their residents to submit to urine drug screens performed by PMA’s physician office laboratories a minimum of three times a week. Drug screens generally are billed to the MassHealth program at a price of approximately $100 to $200. Dr. Kishore allegedly manipulated those business relationships to bill MassHealth for tens of thousands of “medically necessary” urine drug screen tests of Medicaid-eligible residents, the AG said.

Dr. Kishore, and Preventive Medicine Associates, are both individually charged with Medicaid Kickbacks (8 counts), and Medicaid False Claims (8 counts).

The Grand Jury also returned indictments for three individuals in connection with their involvement in Dr. Kishore’s scheme: Carl Smith, manager of New Horizon House, LLC, located in Dorchester; John Coughlin, president of Gianna’s House Inc., which operates several sober houses located in Wareham, New Bedford, and Sandwich; and Thomas Leonard, part owner and manager of the Marshall House, a sober house located in Malden.

A spokesman for the AG’s office said last month there was no information linking the Vineyard Healthcare clinic, at the Woodland Center off State Road in Vineyard Haven to any crimes.

The office shuts its doors in September. A sign on the door said. “Due to circumstances beyond our control this office will not be open until further notice.”

The Vineyard office opened in February 2007 and claimed to provide a full range of treatments for people with substance abuse problems, without the use of further addictive pharmaceuticals. The clinic also provided urine testing services for a variety of Island clients.