HCN News & Notes

Ludlow Doctor Charged with Illegally Prescribing Opioids to Patients

SPRINGFIELD — A Ludlow physician has been indicted for illegally prescribing opioids to patients for no legitimate medical purpose, some of whom had documented substance-abuse issues, and for defrauding the state’s Medicaid program (MassHealth), Attorney General Maura Healey announced yesterday.

Dr. Fernando Jayma, a solo practitioner of general medicine in Ludlow, was indicted on Monday by a Hampden County grand jury on charges of illegal prescribing of controlled substances (22 counts), Medicaid false claims (18 counts), and larceny over $250 (one count). He was arraigned in Palmer District Court today.

“We trust physicians to be responsible with their care and treatment of patients,” Healey said. “Dr. Jayma allegedly violated that trust by writing medically unnecessary prescriptions for opioids to people with documented substance-abuse problems. Our office will continue to combat the opioid epidemic in our state from all angles, including prosecuting those who are prescribing these drugs illegally and recklessly.”

Healey’s office began an investigation in June 2014 after the matter was referred by MassHealth. In 2013, Jayma was the second-highest MassHealth prescriber of oxycodone.

The investigation revealed that, in multiple instances, Jayma prescribed opioids, including oxycodone, morphine, methadone, and fentanyl, to patients for no legitimate medical purpose. Authorities allege that Jayma prescribed the drugs, which have a high potential for abuse, to some patients despite their documented substance abuse. The illegal prescriptions Jayma wrote allegedly caused pharmacies to unwittingly falsely bill MassHealth for the medication.

In several instances, urine drug screens indicated that patients were negative for the prescribed opioids but positive for heroin or other non-prescribed opioids, but Jayma allegedly continued to prescribe opioids to those patients. He also allegedly continued to prescribe fentanyl and oxycodone to a patient who in the recent past was determined to have overdosed on fentanyl.

In addition to the claims of illegal prescribing, Healey’s office alleges that Jayma arranged for another doctor to see his patients when he was out of the country and directed his office staff to bill MassHealth as if Jayma was treating those patients.

The Department of Public Health is working with local health officials to ensure that Jayma’s patients are referred for proper care and treatment by other medical professionals.

These charges are allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.