Courtesy: iStock

Healthcare Fraud

Arlington Physician Convicted in Pill Mill Scheme Faces 15 Years in Prison

After years of Texas Medical Board sanctions, the five-year conspiracy included 50,000 prescriptions for controlled substances.

An illegal drug scheme has caught up with Arlington physician Dr. Clinton Battle, who was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and one count of a distribution of a controlled substance.

In a federal trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Battle often prescribed controlled substances such as hydrocodone, alprazolam, acetaminophen with codeine, and tramadol without a legitimate medical purpose. The drugs were prescribed without any medical examination, and Battle ordered office staff to fill prescriptions at the patients’ request. He also filled prescriptions for family members and friends that were not his patients. 

Battle is an internal medicine physician who ran the Arlington Occupational Medical Clinic treats weight loss and those with on-the-job injuries. His questionable practices date back to 1990, where he was sanctioned for “inappropriate prescribing practices” by the Texas Medical Board. Over the years, he has been ordered to take a course about boundaries, publicly reprimanded, fined multiple times, had another physician monitor his practice, and been forced to take a clinical competence course. The Dallas Morning News reported that Battle agreed to no longer work with workers’ compensation because of all the violations. There are also several mentions of improper record-keeping in his TMB file. 

In 2018, DEA agents raided his office and seized more than $600,000 in cash while filing a forfeiture lawsuit to seize his office, $750,000 home, and condo he owns on the Florida Gulf Coast. Agents also raided Webb-Kohler Pharmacy in Arlington in connection with the raid, where more than $500,000 was seized, the News reported. “Dr. Battle and his coconspirators knowingly propagated prescription drug abuse by dispensing powerful painkillers to individuals with no need for them,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah via a release. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is proud to partner with the DEA and other law enforcement agencies to stop unscrupulous pill pushers like Dr. Battle in their tracks.”

During the trial, former employees of Battle testified that she and her husband agreed with Battle would provide her husband with illegal controlled substance prescriptions in exchange for cocaine. Battle also received $200 payments from fraudulent patients for an initial visit and $80 for a return visit for controlled substance prescriptions. 

Battle worked with his nurse practitioner Donna Green to use his DEA registration number and credentials to issue prescriptions even though Green could not legally prescribe these substances. Green pled guilty to one count of acquiring a controlled substance through fraud on the morning the trial was set to begin. 

The scheme lasted five years and included more than 50,000 controlled substances, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Hydrocodone represented 17,000 of those prescriptions. Battle faces up to 15 years in federal prison and will be sentenced on October 28. 

Newsletter

Keep me up to date on the latest happenings and all that D Magazine has to offer.

Comments