Michigan doctor lauded for work on opioid crisis accused of overprescribing drugs
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Michigan’s chief medical director for Medicaid has been placed on paid administrative leave amid allegations of overprescribing opioids, the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.

Dr. David Neff works for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and also has a medical practice with approximately 85 patients.

A complaint filed by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on May 1 alleges that he failed repeatedly to meet professional and care standards for patients.

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In “several instances,” Neff prescribed more than a three-day supply of controlled substance medication before review reports from the Michigan Automated Prescription System, which oversees patient prescriptions. 

He also reportedly failed to use urine tests to screen his patients’ use of medication, even when a patient said she was concerned about what might show up in a test’s results. Neff prescribed prescription fentanyl pain patches to a patient, even when she said she would remove the patches because they did not adhere on her skin, resulting in unused, available medication.

Other failures in care included not monitoring a patient who had psychiatric risk factors for abuse and not recording why he increased a patient’s opioid dosage.

Neff must respond in 30 days to the complaint, or it will be sent to a disciplinary committee for sanctions.

Neff’s attorney, Tim Dardas, told the Detroit Free Press he would be responding to the allegations later Friday.

In the past, Neff delivered a presentation on providing responsible care with opioids and other powerful prescriptions. He also received the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians and Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians 2018 Friend of Family Medicine Award for his work in addressing the opioid crisis, according to the Free Press.

Neff was placed on leave from his job in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on May 9, the Free Press reported. The department was informed of the complaint on May 7.