A Manheim Township psychiatrist will lose his medical license, pay a $50,000 fine and serve five years probation for prescribing drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin without proper — or at times any — patient evaluations, and committing insurance and Medicare fraud.
Bassam El-Borno, 64, of the 1000 block of Bluestone Drive, pleaded guilty to the charges Thursday in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas under a plea agreement before Judge Dennis Reinaker.
The state attorney general’s office charged El-Borno in June after a grand jury investigation that included testimony from former patients. Theft and wiretap charges were dropped as part of the plea.
For years, according to prosecutors, El-Borno prescribed addictive controlled substances without a proper evaluation, diagnosis, or ongoing assessment. He also charged $50 or $75 for prescriptions, often mailing or taping them in envelopes outside his 160 North Pointe Blvd. office.
“I can only apologize to the court, to the patients, to all those who I failed in my mission to care for the community at large, and the patients in particular,” El-Borno said.
Reinaker called El-Borno’s actions disturbing and suggested he could have faced a harsher sentence were there not a plea agreement. The maximum penalty is 35 years in prison and a $90,000 fine.
“This isn’t some brief lapse in judgment on your part. And it’s particularly disturbing it involved children to the extent that it did,” Reinaker said.
Maureen R. Dixon, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which helped in the prosecution, said in news release that El-Borno’s patients often abused the prescriptions.
In the same release, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, “Our prescription drug addiction epidemic is due, in part, to bad actors who facilitate these serious prescription drugs falling into the hands of those struggling with addiction.”
El-Borno must also perform 50 hours of community service and pay $8,394 restitution. He’ll serve the first six months of probation on house arrest.