NKY physician convicted of health care fraud, acquitted on drug charges

Meghan Goth
Meghan Goth
Meghan Goth is LINK nky's managing editor. Email her at [email protected]

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Barbara Works went to the Northern Kentucky Center for Pain Relief looking for something to help with her chronic pain.

On March 27, 2017, according to Boone County circuit court documents, Works was prescribed 120 capsules of Oxycodone. Thirty-six days later, on May 2, 2017, she was prescribed another 120 capsules.

On May 24, works was found dead at her Covington home. The civil complaint identifies intoxication and hydrocodone as the primary causes of her death.

On March 23, 2023, the doctor who prescribed those medications to Works was convicted of heath care fraud — but not on the criminal drug charges.

Timothy Ehn, of Union, was acquitted of charges related to the distribution of a controlled substance, according to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

But the civil case, which was paused while the criminal case moved through the courts, according to the attorney representing Works’ son, Tyler Meade, will hopefully start soon.

“We have been waiting long enough,” said attorney Kenneth Human. “It’s high time that these types of cases are prosecuted.”

Also accused in the civil complaint are the Northern Kentucky Center for Pain Relief and William Siefert of Dayton, Ohio, who was employed as a physician at the center. Ehn was a chiropractor and owned the clinic.

Siefert and Ehn engaged in a scheme to bill Medicaid for millions of dollars in medically unnecessary urinalysis testing for their patients, which included urinalysis testing purportedly conducted on faulty machinery, according to a statement released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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“Ehn faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each of the health care fraud conspiracy and health care fraud counts,” reads the statement. “A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.”

Both men are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 20.

The urine tests being submitted falsely conveyed negative results, Human told LINK nky.

The civil case, which was filed on Oct. 6, 2022, seeks compulsory damages “including but not limited to funeral expenses, extreme physical and mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement, degradation, unnecessary loss of personal dignity, lost wages, and loss of life.”

The civil case claims Ehn’s actions led to the deaths of multiple people.

“Defendants, through their conduct described above, did operate an unlawful scheme whereby Defendants overprescribed medication for the sole purpose of earning revenue and which actions were unnecessary and excessive,” the complaint said.

Attorney Benjamin Glassman represents Ehn in the criminal case, along with attorney Luke Burton.

“Dr. Ehn did not write any prescriptions,” Glassman said. “He is a chiropractor and was the owner of Northern Kentucky Center for Pain Relief, a pain management practice licensed at all times of operation by the Kentucky Office of Inspector General. Regarding the verdicts in the criminal case, we are pleased by the acquittal of Dr. Ehn (and Dr. Siefert, a former medical director of the Northern Kentucky Center for Pain Relief) on all charges related to prescribing. Although we are disappointed by the verdicts about healthcare fraud, we think they are the product of serious errors at trial. We plan to raise those arguments on appeal as Dr. Ehn continues to fight to clear his name entirely.”

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