Longmore arrested for prescribing too much hydrocodone

Dr. Wayne Longmore

Dr. Wayne Longmore of the Woodstock Walk-In Doctor’s Office was arrested last Wednesday, March 21, on charges of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.

According to the federal criminal complaint signed by FBI Special Agent Julie Kelly Mounce before U.S. District Court, Northern District, in Albany on March 20, “The evidence obtained in this investigation indicates that from at least March 2009 to the present, Longmore has prescribed large quantities of the highly addictive prescription controlled substance hydrocodone (both in brand name and generic form), among other drugs, without a legitimate medical purpose…outside ‘the usual course of professional practice.’”

The news, released by the FBI, almost immediately spawned an outpouring of letter-writing by Woodstock patients on behalf of the doctor, whose practice was closed down within a year of opening nine years ago following a much-publicized case that eventually saw him admitting to, and being treated for, bipolar disorder.

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In an interview Monday, March 26, Longmore gave his side of things.

“I’m innocent of these charges,” he said. “I do not prescribe controlled substances without a reason. Tomorrow [Tuesday, March 27] I’m voluntarily giving up my license to practice medicine for the duration of these proceedings,” Longmore said in a subdued manner. “The prescriptions I’ve written were entirely within medical purposes. I don’t prescribe to people who just walk in and want it. I have a busy practice. I’ve done the best I can and I believe I’ll be exonerated once the situation is investigated properly.

Longmore, who just a month ago turned down a request to do an update on his practice seven years after his earlier troubles subsided, added that he was “fully cooperating with the investigation.”

On Tuesday, March 27, Longmore appeared before Judge Randolph F. Treece of U.S. District Court in Albany, represented by attorney David Gruenberg of Troy, regarding the criminal charges against him. According to Gruenberg, his client’s case was proceeding along two fronts simultaneously.

On the one hand, he was dealing with the federal charges, which the attorney described as being “very much at the beginning of a long process. We’re just starting to look at the government’s evidence, and gauging their allegations…there’s a lot of material and nothing’s set yet.”

On the other front, Gruenberg added, “The state Department of Health (DOH) has been advised of the allegations and Dr. Longmore has retained separate counsel for that.”

The most unfavorable outcome of any DOH action would be that Longmore could have his license to practice medicine revoked forever. The worst case scenario regarding federal charges involves substantial jail time, up to 14 years in some cases, as well as major fines into the upper five figure range.

According to the FBI complaint, it is Agent Mounce’s belief that Longmore was among the top five writers of prescriptions of hydrocodone (also known as Vicodin) in the greater Capital region, with him having written approximately 9,940 prescriptions between Dec. 15, 2010, and Jan. 17, 2012, with 4,520 of those for patients under 35.

Evidence provided by Mounce includes testimony from area pharmacists about the incidence of the Woodstock Walk-In Doctor’s prescriptions, use of undercover agents as patients seeking prescriptions, and the use of a video surveillance camera on a utility pole outside Longmore’s office that showed him averaging, in Mounce’s description, 72 patients per day over recent months.

“Throughout the investigation of Longmore, multiple pharmacies contacted the FBI and DEA regarding his unusual and suspicious prescribing practices,” Mounce writes of actions that started in March, 2009, after it was uncovered that the Woodstock doctor was among the top prescription writers of Vicodin in the region. “From conversations with these pharmacists, I learned that some of Longmore’s patients travel a long distance to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances from him. One pharmacist reported that Longmore almost always writes prescriptions for 45 hydrocodone tablets at a time, which is approximately a one-week supply.”

Undercover agents noted the speed with which Longmore would examine them, often in under a minute, with blood pressure test and examination included.

According to a local law enforcement source who talked with Ulster Publishing, speaking on the condition of anonymity because his agency is not directly involved in the investigation, Longmore has been on cops’ radar for years as a major source of narcotic pain pills circulating on Ulster County’s black market.

“He’s the one who came across my desk the most as far as abusing his ability to write prescriptions,” said the source.

The source described a thriving market for pain pills, which can fetch as much as $30 apiece for the most powerful doses. Pill dealers with health insurance can reap profits by obtaining hundreds of dollars worth of pills for the price of an office visit and a small co-pay at the pharmacy, then selling the drugs on the street at black market prices. Longmore, the source added, frequently came up in conversations with confidential informants.

“Snitches talk,” said the source. “They’d tell us, this is the guy to go to. You basically just point to where your elbow hurts on a chart and you get a scrip.”

The source added that his agency had traded information on Longmore with the DEA’s pill diversion division. But, he said, local police never took action against the clinic because of the difficulty in building a solid case against a doctor who’s legally vested with the power to write.

“The fact is, that’s his job and we’re not doctors,” said the source. “It’s a hard line. But we all knew about it.”

 

A variety of ailments

Longmore, whose office at 104 Mill Hill Road became a flurry of activity for those in the greater community without insurance, built his practice based on a vision for community triage care on a cash basis, with a sliding scale of payment for those with less means. He talked much, both before his troubles with the Medical Society — which peaked when he surrendered his license to practice medicine for a year and three months in 2004 to avoid investigation by the state Department of Health — about using his considerable experience in emergency rooms in a small-town situation.

The doctor admitted that he had written 6,900 prescriptions for hydrocodone in the time period of the investigation, “but I wrote another 20,000 prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications.” He talked about how he would prescribe pain medication for a variety of ailments.

“A common thing would be low back pain, sciatica, migraine headaches, orthopedic operations, hernia…they don’t give enough medication at emergency room if they have a fracture, for example. They advise you to go to your primary care physician,” he said. “I see children, adults, all kinds of patients… Many of my patients do not have health insurance and can’t afford to see doctors on a regular basis…I do not sell prescriptions.”

Longmore said he had no idea he was under surveillance.

“For the last two years no, totally unaware,” he said. “I was out of work for two years, then under a Committee for Physicians Health for five years. That was completed in 2010. The only requirement I’ve had is to see a psychiatrist while I practice in New York State. And I do see a psychiatrist.”

He said that on an average day, he would see between 25 and 45 patients, but “nowhere near 72.” He said he charges those who come to see him “on a sliding scale anywhere from $10 to $90 — the majority is $60. But I charge people what they can afford. I do not accept insurance, I’m not a Medicaid provider, or Medicare. I’ll give people a receipt they can submit to their insurance companies.”

Finally, he added that “I want to keep my office open. I’m looking for Doctors, nurses, Physician’s Assistants, or Nurse Practitioners to staff the office. I won’t be practicing. But there’s a tremendous need for a walk in clinic to deal with all kinds of things, allergies, asthma, hypertension, diabetes, cancer…all kind of non-pain related issues.”

Last decade, when he was forced to close down because of his own symptoms of bi-polar disease, Longmore put out a similar request. But with no takers.

“I have an X-ray machine so I do X-rays in the office. I have an EKG machine to do those. And I’m an emergency physician so I do minor surgery, including suturing of lacerations, treatment of burns and excisions of benign skin lesions,” he said. “I also refer patients I can’t take care of to local physicians who specialize in orthopedics, general surgery, infectious diseases, pediatrics, psychology, etc. I think I’ve treated at least half the residents in the Woodstock area in the last ten years.”

He asked that medical professionals interested in working in the Walk-In Clinic call him.

At his attorney’s request, however, we were asked not to publish that number.

To reach Dr. Wayne Longmore, then, try his attorney, David Gruenberg, at 518-274-7252.++

 

Jesse J. Smith and Brian Hollander contributed to this report.

 

There are 15 comments

  1. Lynne

    What I think most likely does not matter, however I will state it anyway. The actions taken upon Dr. Longmore give every appearance of a sting operation, using covert actions to ruin a doctor and his practice, as well as his life. Knowing Dr. Longmore since the beginnings of his opening of Woodstock Walkins, and also being a patient there on several instances, I never saw anything illegal or out of the norm going on there. I found his practices to be thorough, and he has helped a vast number of people with their maladies. Personally, I distrust most Doctors, finding most are uncaring, and appearing as though all they care about is the money they make, the money they can rake out of insurance companies, medicare, and medicaid. Most doctors that I have observed spend a whole lot of 15 minutes with you , tops, and then either write a script, or perhaps an injection, order blood tests, and other tests, whether necessary or not, and still give you a script for those tests as well. the nurses or PA’s administer anything else that need be done, and also many do the entry physical exam as well, taking vitals, etc. Now I realize that docotrs are so busy, that they cannot personally attend their patients. I find it very strange indeed, that years ago, doctors were 100% there for their patients, and personally attended to them and really cared. The aforementioned is why I chose to go to Dr. Longmore, he does care, and is an excellent, and thorough doctor.
    Every doctor I have observed in the Ulster county area are all very quick with the Prescriptions, they don’t seem to know anything about any other alternative to the drugs. I am not real certain they know much about wellness period.
    I will give them credit where credit is due, for critical care, and emergency situations, but even there I have seen inadequacy.
    Back to point… if a doctor has an emergency walk in clinic, yes it is possible and probable that he/she will see a vast number of patients per day. The key word is “emergency.” I have been at Dr. Longmore’s clinic on days where there was little of nothing happening, and on days where much action was occurring. On every occasion I saw Dr. Longmore handle each and every case with professional and caring concern and ability.
    As far as the prescriptions are concerned, in most cases that are emergency in nature, pain is an issue, so yes, pain medication would be given . I, myself never required a prescription of Pain meds, while seeing Dr. Longmore, and actually I am not certain I would have taken them if I had needed them. I deal with such in my own manner, which is au naturale’.
    What has been done to Dr. Longmore is unjust! It is unjust to his patients as well! We all know that what is published or reported in the media is only what they want us to know. Hidden camera’s , surveilance, and covert actions of “undercover” patients sounds more like a vendetta.

    WE, DR. LONGMORE’S PATIENTS, WANT OUR DOCTOR BACK!

    Just another day in the land of hades.

  2. Doctor derailed: Longmore arrested for prescribing too much hydrocodone | Lasik new york - A never ending story

    […] Doctor derailed: Longmore arrested for prescribing too much hydrocodone I've done the best I can and I believe I'll be exonerated once the situation is investigated properly. Longmore, who just a month ago turned down a request to do an update on his practice seven years after his earlier troubles subsided, added that he … Read more on Woodstock Times […]

  3. Michael Tudor

    Dr. Longmore has been serving the uninsured faithfully for many years. And in this time of more and more people being uninsured, the scapegoating of such doctors by the FBI who are trying to fulfill quotas is despicable. Once again the healthcare in this country is completely failing and those who are trying their best to create equity are being stepped on be the FBI.

    Some things it would be nice to know in all this:

    1) What percentage of scripts written by emergency wards is for painkillers? It wouldn’t surprise me if it were upwards of 50%. How can there be any outrage about Dr. Longmore until we have actual facts about painkiller script percentages for clinics and emergency rooms that serve this same purpose?

    2) What doctors are the more likely to commit fraud? I bet we would find out it was the online pharmacies. It would be nice to know from the FBI if they have prosecuted online pharmacies or are they sticking to easy targets like walk in clinics that serve the uninsured.

    3) The FBI must give out some nice health care packages; otherwise they would not think it so strange that the uninsured are paying for healthcare with cash.

    4) Surveillance cameras outside a community clinic can tell how many patients a doctor is treating? What about family members going in and out of office while patience are waiting to be seen? Tell me we don’t believe what the FBI says just because they said it.

  4. nopolitics

    Hey hey, ho ho, OPMC’s got to GO. Nine years ago they KNEW(according to the Times-Union)about his prolific pain pill prescribing ways, and instead of facing the issue head-on, they concocted this BOGUS “bipolar” crap.
    It never ceases to amaze me how these doctors pervert everything using taxpayer monies at the OPMC, and wind up protecting themselves moreso than the public they are CHARGED with protecting. That’s the take-home from this story. Get it?!

  5. Leslie McKewan

    I have always found Dr. Longmore to be thorough and honest with me regarding any issues I’ve had: which include a broken wrist, yeast infections, a friend with a sprained elbow, and several other things that have nothing to do with painkillers. We need him in Woodstock! We, nor the tourists, have any other place to go in an emergency. And in this economy, is it any surprise that he has a higher rate of patients? Let’s look at the FULL set of statistics before we judge! I for one, count on him to tell me what I really need to know, without the waffling of hospital doctors. I should know: it was an ER doctor that saved my life, not the intern on call – he didn’t have a clue. Longmore is our local ER doctor, that does the triage before the hospital. This is what we need in these financial times, and more specifically, in our local area of Woodstock. Let him get back to the job he does best!!!

  6. martin louis

    Dr Wayne has been my doctor since his clinic opened and he is the best. while i wonder how he could be so
    unaware of the red flags involved in prescribing pain meds, he has helped so many people in so many ways
    that i give him the benefit of the doubt. Yes, we do need Dr. Wayne!!!!! He is the most compassionate and best doctor in the world!!!!

  7. Amy Schriver

    I stand beside Wayne .. He has helped me in so many ways .. I am outraged by all this .. And I really hope these courts open our patient files.. And contact us.. I am more then willing to do whatever to get the dr back whom has helped me in my times of need .. And my friends whom have had no health insurance..

  8. Will

    I came to the clinic very ill & Dr Longmore helped cure me.I am forever indebted.He is a highly skilled physician.I believe that the community really needs this clinic back up & running for the patients sake & that shutting it down was a huge mistake.

  9. joe bianchi

    i,ve known the good dr. since he opened ,he has treated me for various aliments and many others i know in woodstock and the KTD monastery ,for some political reason ,he’s been the target of a witch hunt ,a bad witch hunt that is. i hope every one prays for dr, longmore and supports him with some letter writing to those who can help him ,the towns politicians and patients,thank you for your time ,love joe bianchi

  10. paul

    i am a very conservative active CHURCH goer from VIRGINIA. i am appaled by what the police are doing. this is insaine, this guy makes hardly any money writes only 1/4 of his prescriptions for pain and for hydrocodone for crying out loud. i believe in tough laws but this is way over the top, shame on the police, they are way out of line on this one and they know it. this doctor shouldget an award for the charity work and the good deeds he has done not scolded by these good for nothing rent a cops. i hope he sues the heck out of the fbi. no wonder no one wants to be a doctor these days, its not worth the hassel. I hope this doc knows he has nothing to be ashamed of….hes a great doctor to say the least….

  11. bruce dotson

    he don’t care about anybody,he wants money not friends…are u all very stupid…doctors about killed my mother …she has pain in most of her back…arthritis very bad..she cries ..im her youngest son and her legal guardian and make sure she has what she needs I fired 2 dr,s..now she is being seen by a woman dr.she has changed her high blood pills and is doing much better and feels better,looks better and is more active,she takes perks and clonazepam also just to say,watch out for the dr that don’t care,,oh yea,they tried to blame it on me she wasn’t doing good,my mom wanted to deck them in the mouth,he he,but I stopped her,,don’t truct the drs…I want to sue,can anybody help…907 209 8325 ..im not a good typer…..thanks and hope u see what we went through…..bruce

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