Boardman doctor faces 79 felony charges
By Justin Dennis
Thirty patients received opioid prescriptions with “minimal examination” from a Boardman foot doctor, according to a Mahoning County indictment.
County Prosecutor Paul Gains and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced that Dr. James Prommersberger, 55, a Windham Court podiatrist, is facing 79 felony counts of illegal processing of drug documents, trafficking in drugs, Medicaid fraud and grand theft, according to a Friday release from Gains’ office.
Prommersberger illegally prescribed opioid medications hydrocodone and tramadol as well as the muscle relaxant carisoprodol to 30 patients between 2013 and 2017, according to the indictment.
The investigation began in 2014, Gains said. The Ohio Pharmacy Board, responding to area pharmacies’ complaints of the doctor’s “suspicious” opioid prescriptions, sent undercover agents to Prommersberger’s Boardman office, where they were prescribed opioids “with only a minimal examination,” reads the release. Patient files were also seized through a search warrant of the offices.
“An examination of those files by a medical expert revealed that there was no medical necessity to prescribe the opioids,” the release states.
Gains said Prommersberger has yet to have his medical license revoked, but the Ohio Medical Board is expected to take further action against him “in due course.”
The board placed his license to prescribe drugs on probation Dec. 12, prohibiting his ability to prescribe benzodiazepines (used to treat anxiety and seizures) and limiting his opiate prescriptions. That action was based on allegations from the West Virginia Board of Medicine in July 2017, as well as an investigation by the Kentucky Inspector General’s office that found Prommersberger prescribed more than 1,100 prescriptions between 2014 and 2015 in that state – mostly for hydrocodone.
“When I came out of school, that’s kind of what the attitude was back when I was training to, you know, take care of pain for people. That was in the early ’90s,” Prommersberger testified during an October state medical board hearing before then-Attorney General Mike DeWine.
“Years ago, we were basically told to treat pain. ... The government started pushing us to writing the prescriptions per the pharmaceutical companies,” he said later during the interview.
“And then it got to be where the numbers became so high and people were abusing it, so then we had to make a turn to start tapering people off and reducing them to reduce the amount of abuse and, you know, the [overdoses].”
Prommersberger is due for arraignment Tuesday in common pleas court. Court records do not list an attorney. A call Friday to the doctor’s office went unanswered.