South Hills pain doctor charged with writing illegal narcotic prescriptions, insurance fraud

·1 min read

May 7—A South Hills doctor spent years prescribing narcotics to patients at his pain clinic who did not need them, sometimes giving patients injections against their wishes to line his own pockets, according to a 242-count indictment returned this week.

John Keun-Sang Lee, 78, is charged with violating federal narcotics laws and committing health care fraud, according to a grand jury indictment returned Wednesday and unsealed Friday.

The indictment alleges Lee, of Venetia, prescribed oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl patches and more to patients "outside the usual course" of practice and "not for a legitimate medical purpose" at his practice, Jefferson Pain and Rehabilitation Clinic on Clairton Boulevard.

The indictment describes a scheme in which Lee would give "repetitive and medically unnecessary" injections to patients, sometimes for years at a time and against the patient's express wishes — allegedly to get more money from Medicare and Medicaid.

The indictment identifies five patients by their initials and lists the various dates between May 2016 and October 2020 on which Lee is alleged to have prescribed the painkillers.

Lee would sometimes only prescribe the narcotics to patients after they agreed to the unnecessary injections, according to the indictment. He also required some patients to change their insurance providers so he would get a larger reimbursement.

Prosecutors had asked Lee to surrender his medical license, his Drug Enforcement Administration registration and passport. The conditions of his release will allow him to prescribe medications to his current patients through May 28.

He's also been asked to pay $141,000 — the amount prosecutors allege he defrauded from Medicare and Medicaid.

Lee is free on $20,000 bond.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter .

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