Former Blue Hill doctor found guilty of drug charge



BLUE HILL — A physician who had started a fee-for-service family practice here in 2009 next to Rite Aid distributed 55,900 opiate pills between the office’s opening and 2012.

In February, Dr. Brandt Rice was found guilty of one count of possession to distribute oxycodone following a criminal investigation into a medical practice he ran in Maryland.

The data about the number of pain pills that flowed through Rice’s Blue Hill office through 2012 came from information analyzed by The Washington Post released last week.

The database, compiled by the Drug Enforcement Administration, tracked the path of every pain pill sold in the United States for seven years between 2006 and 2012.

Rice had operated Coastal Family Medicine on South Street in Blue Hill and obtained thousands of pain pills by filling prescriptions next door, at the Blue Hill Rite Aid, according to an order by the Maine Board of Licensure suspending his license.

Rice was first licensed to practice medicine in Maine on Sept. 25, 2008, according to the Maine Board of Licensure.

Rice’s license to practice medicine in Maine was suspended in June 2018 after the board took complaints from a patient who alleged liberal distribution of prescription drugs, including opiates. The board also received a complaint from the husband of another patient who needed to obtain her medical records from Rice and had been unable to do so, according to a copy of the suspension.

Rice’s license, which is suspended through Nov. 30, expires Dec. 1, 2019.

The American was unable to reach Rice or Rice’s attorney, Stephen Glassman of Glassman & Michael in Vienna, Va., before press time.

Rice has been the subject of a criminal investigation in the state of Maryland, where he also once ran a medical practice, Concierge Medicine of Maryland and Maine.

According to ABC-affiliate television station WLJA in Maryland, Montgomery County Police formally filed eight criminal charges against Rice in 2018: four counts of unlawfully obtaining prescription drugs by forging a prescription and four counts of possessing a controlled dangerous substance.

On Feb. 25 of this year, Judge Robert A. Greenberg, presiding over the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Md., found Rice guilty of one count of possession to distribute oxycodone.

Greenberg sentenced Rice to a suspended 10-year prison sentence with three years probation. The state of Maryland has sealed Rice’s sentencing documents.

A spokesman for the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Office, Ramon Korionoff, said sentencing and probation documents are sealed if they contain any medical information that might be “compromising to their lives,” if released.

Dennis Smith, executive director of the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine, said the “board investigative staff is aware of Dr. Rice’s criminal convictions in Maryland.”

“As this matter is still pending, I am unable to provide further comment at this time regarding any possible action by the board,” Smith said.

However, the existence of a criminal record may not preclude Rice from practicing again.

Smith pointed to a Maine statute that states the existence of information about criminal convictions is not an “automatic bar to being licensed, registered or permitted to practice any profession, trade or occupation.”

Rice voluntarily surrendered his license to practice medicine in Maryland on Jan. 18, 2019. According to the Maryland Board of Physicians, Rice surrendered his license “to avoid further investigation by the board.”

Rice is not the only medical provider in Hancock County who has had his license suspended in connection to allegations of improper handling of prescription painkillers.

The Maine Board of Dental Examiners had suspended the license of the late Ellsworth dentist Dr. Peter F. Meyer in 2007 based on “the imminent threat that his continued practice of dentistry posed to the public,” according to a copy of a consent agreement. Meyer had “relapsed to the use of hydrocodone,” the agreement stated.

Meyer had agreed to voluntarily surrender his license in October 2007.

Meyer passed away in 2014 after a battle with cancer, according to his obituary.

 

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.

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