Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced that a federal jury found William R. Bauer, 84, of Port Clinton, Ohio, guilty of prescribing powerful controlled substances, including opioids, to patients without medical necessity and outside the usual course of medical practice.
Following a two-week trial, Bauer was convicted on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, of 76 counts of distribution of controlled substances and 25 counts of health care fraud. Bauer was initially indicted in August of 2019, and a superseding indictment was filed in October of 2019. The indictment was amended again in June of 2021.
Evidence presented at trial established that between 2015 and 2019, Bauer, at his practice in Bellevue, Ohio, repeatedly prescribed controlled substances including Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Morphine, and Tramadol, outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. The indictment focused on Bauer’s treatment of 14 patients. The evidence presented at trial showed that Bauer prescribed high doses of opioids and other controlled substances to patients without regard to any improvement in pain level, function, or quality of life; prescribed dangerous drug combinations; failed to consider a patient’s state of addiction and ignored warning signs of abuse and diversion such as patient family members stealing medications, patients frequently requesting early refills, patients losing medications and other actions.
Bauer was also convicted of health care fraud. Evidence introduced at trial established that Bauer regularly administered epidural injections and trigger point injections, without medical necessity, that failed to meet certain procedural requirements. Because these injections failed to meet the procedural requirements, they were rendered ineffective and were fraudulently billed to insurers. Evidence at trial also showed that between January 2007 and August 16, 2019, Bauer prescribed controlled substances outside the usual course of medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, thus resulting in insurers paying for medically unnecessary controlled substances.
Sentencing will be determined at a later date.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ava R. Dustin, Michael A. Sullivan, Robert N. Melching and Payum Doroodian.
USAO - Ohio, Northern;
Department of Health and Human Services OIG