Area doctor charged with health care fraud

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area doctor who wrote prescriptions for more than two million painkiller pills has been charged with health care fraud.

Dr. Frank Patino appeared in Detroit federal court Wednesday. He was returned to jail to await a hearing to determine if he’ll stay locked up without bond.

Patino is accused of submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for health care that wasn’t performed or wasn’t necessary. The value of the alleged scheme is pegged at $112 million.

The indictment says opioids and other drugs were resold on the street. Patino is charged with receiving kickbacks and bribes to refer patients to certain labs.

Defense attorney Brian Lennon says Patino expects to be “fully vindicated.” In 2014, he distributed 300 free hams for struggling Pontiac residents.