Texas workers’ compensation doctor Clinton Battle of Arlington Occupational and Medical Clinic was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for fraud and drug crimes on March 24, 2022. U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman further ordered Dr. Battle to pay $376,368.00 in restitution.
Attentive readers may recall our reporting in June 2020 of Dr. Battle’s federal indictments for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, issuing prescriptions for hydrocodone, codeine, Xanax, phentermine, and tramadol, without performing the necessary medical examinations, and for receiving remuneration from his patients in return, sometimes in the form of money, sometimes in illegal drugs, specifically cocaine.
Dr. Battle was also indicted on two counts of conspiracy, one for distributing the drugs with his nurse practitioner, even going so far as to permit her to use his DEA registration number to issue prescriptions herself.
Finally, Dr. Battle and his medical assistant were accused of conspiring to commit mail fraud, specifically submitting fraudulent claims to insurance companies, including those in the Texas Workers’ Compensation system. Part of their tactics included coding for medical procedures at higher rates than are permitted and submitting claims for hours-long Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) he administered.
In July 2021, Dr. Battle was convicted of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and distribution of controlled substances. He pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Evidence adduced at trial revealed that Dr. Battle did not perform the FCEs at all (his unlicensed assistants did), and they took far less time than claimed in his billing to insurance carriers. Physical therapy sessions that were conducted by the same assistants, or sometimes not at all, were also billed as part of Dr. Battle’s treatment, much of which was incorrectly coded to permit higher reimbursement rates.
During the five years the scheme was in effect, Dr. Battle wrote over 50,000 fraudulent prescriptions. Of those, 17,000 were for hydrocodone, an opioid. Per the release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, DEA Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chavez stated: “Dealers of illegal drugs come in many forms. This is a case of the abuse of trust and position. Dr. Battle and his co-conspirators used their authority to push pills into our neighborhoods, disregarding the inherent harm they cause.”