Medical identity theft victim doctor found hundreds of fraudulent prescriptions were filled using her prescriber ID.

Last year, Dr. Cheryl White learned that her credentials had been swiped by pill mill operators who forged hundreds of prescriptions, using fake addresses and burner phones all across the Lone Star state. By tracing bogus patients, she found dozens of other doctors who might have gotten “hijacked” by the same ring. White immediately asked for new prescriber ID numbers. Her federal license was easy to renew, but there were delays in getting her state license reissued, so the forgeries continued.

The Sugar Land doctor’s frightening discovery prompted the Texas Legislature to approve a new bill intended to protect medical professionals from criminals who contribute to an epidemic of prescription drug dealing and overdose deaths. Those reforms will eliminate that state prescribing license, which duplicates a federal program, making it easier for credentials to be reissued when counterfeiters strike. The proposed law also will enable medical professionals to designate a staff member to regularly review the state’s controlled substance prescribing reports. And by 2016, the law would shift that monitoring program to the Texas Board of Pharmacy, which promises to streamline the system and provide alerts to physicians, pharmacists and others about possible scams.

White first learned that she’d become the victim of medical identity theft when a pharmacist called about a request for a trio of pills known as the “Houston cocktail” – featuring the potent pain killer hydrocodone, the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam and a muscle relaxant called carisoprodol. The script had been issued for a “patient” White had never met. And when the pharmacist faxed over the prescription, the forgery bore White’s federal and state license numbers.

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June 8, 2015 by Lisa Olsen, Houston Chronicle