Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Arrested for Unlawfully Distributing Prescription Opioids

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FILE PHOTO: Bottles of prescription painkiller OxyContin made by Purdue Pharma LP sit on a shelf at a local pharmacy in Provo

A Tennessee nurse practitioner was arrested today for allegedly distributing prescription drugs unlawfully from the medical clinic she owned and operated.

According to court documents, Kelly McCallum, 39, of Dyersburg, unlawfully prescribed controlled substances, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, at the Convenient Care Clinic (Clinic). Over approximately four years, McCallum prescribed more than two million opioid pills and more than 900,000 pills containing benzodiazepines. McCallum is alleged to have provided prescriptions to individuals with whom she had close personal relationships, including individuals with whom she had sexual relationships. She is also alleged to have prescribed dangerous combinations of controlled substances to her patients and, when she was out of the office, left pre-signed prescriptions for staff to distribute controlled substances in her absence. McCallum also faces health care fraud charges for allegedly billing TennCare and Medicare for fraudulent office visits on days that she was away from the Clinic.

McCallum is charged with maintaining a drug-involved premises, unlawful distribution of controlled substances, and health care fraud. If convicted, McCallum faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the drug charges, and a maximum of 10 years in prison for health care fraud. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Joseph C. Murphy of the Western District of Tennessee; Special Agent in Charge J. Todd Scott of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Louisville Division; Acting Assistant Director Jay Greenberg of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division; Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski of the FBI Memphis Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Derrick L. Jackson of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Atlanta Regional Office; and Special Agent in Charge Terry L. Reed Sr. of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) made the announcement.

The DEA, FBI, HHS-OIG and TBI are investigating the case.

Assistant Chief Jillian Willis of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christie Hopper of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee are prosecuting the case.

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The Fraud Section leads the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force. Since its inception in October 2018, the ARPO Strike Force, which operates in 10 districts, has charged more than 90 defendants who are collectively responsible for distributing more than 105 million pills. The ARPO Strike Force is part of the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program, which since March 2007 has charged more than 4,200 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $19 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes.  More information can be found at: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.