New Article: DOJ Raids of Health Care Providers

Today, American University’s Washington College of Law published in its Legislation & Policy Brief a new article by Michael C. Barnes, JD. Entitled “A More Sensible Surge: Ending DOJ’s Indiscriminate Raids of Health Care Providers,” the article discusses the indiscriminate nature of recent U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) raids, searches, and investigations of prescribers of opioid medications.

“Not all health care professionals subject to the DOJ’s searches and seizures are ‘dirty docs.’ In fact, some of them are nationally recognized leaders not just in pain management, but also in addiction medicine,” Barnes writes.

The article describes how raids on the prescribers of controlled medications put patients’ lives at risk, destroy professionals’ livelihoods and careers, and create confusion, fear, and reluctance to prescribe among other health care providers. Barnes argues that the DOJ’s actions undermine congressional efforts to expand the number of practitioners who prescribe medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD).

In the article, Barnes proposes a policy to help health care providers feel confident prescribing medication to treat OUD and other conditions for which controlled medications may be necessary. This policy would require complaints in which medical need and patient care are at issue to be investigated first by licensing boards, which are governed and staffed by individuals with health-specific expertise, rather than by law enforcement.