Nurses scurry back and forth tending to patients. Paper shuffles, clipboards snap, and the low hum of the air conditioner permeates the room. The lights are blinding. The walls sterile. And a lone figure limps through the doorway, dragging his right leg which bends out awkwardly at the knee. One of the nurses approaches him; she sits him down and pulls out her clipboard. He claims to have no I.D. and gives her a name, he explains he was hurt on the job and that his medical expenses will be covered by worker’s comp. She gets the doctor. They treat his injuries, but the doctor does not know whether to deny the man painkillers (which he could clearly use) or to prescribe an alternative treatment option.
What would you do?
A Washington man used this same fraudulent scheme to con hospitals and clinics in the state which has resulted in $134,000 in unpaid medical fees. Robert B. Boyer, Jr. gave false names, birthdates, and Social Security numbers to more than three dozen emergency rooms in Western Washington in order to procure prescriptions for Vicodin, Percocet, and other painkillers. He used this information to gain access to worker’s comp claims with the Department of Labor and Industries.
He now faces 25 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The charges stem from an L&I investigation that discovered that Boyer had filed 51 worker’s comp claims. After missing his court date, it is highly probable that Boyer will be spending quite a lot of time behind bars.
One of the biggest complications of Boyer’s case is that he didn’t give the medical professionals whom he conned any form of identification, exploiting their duty to treat patients in a medical emergency. He stated that he was aware that his real name was registered with the Washington State Prescription Monitoring Program, which would alert the hospital officials that he’d already received his allotment of controlled substances.
Medical professionals who suffered at the hands of the con artist asked L&I investigators what they could do to prevent such a scheme from succeeding. They were advised to always try to verify the employment of any patients who are claiming worker’s comp injuries, and that if employment can’t be verified, to treat them through other methods than prescribing narcotics.