In April of 2019, the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force arrested more than 50 physicians, pharmacists, and other medical professionals in what was then referred to as the largest health care fraud sweep in U.S. history.
One of those doctors was Sai P. Gutti, a pain management specialist who practices in Eastern Kentucky. A resident of Pikeville, he owns five clinics throughout the area. The federal government charged him with wrongfully billing Medicare and Medicaid for urine testing that was not done or not medically necessary.
On August 13th, a jury in Frankfort U.S. District Court found Gutti not guilty of all eight counts of health care fraud that federal prosecutors charged the doctor within 2019.
A rush to judgment
J. Guthrie True, Gutti’s lead defense lawyer, said that the “case should never have been brought.” True claims a rush to judgment that resulted in his client’s vindication. He also noted that Gutti was the only one in the broad swath of arrests who went to trial and was acquitted.
True cited that five other doctors arrested and charged with similar crimes faced accusations of controlled substance kickback schemes and opioid prescriptions for cash to Facebook friends. A Floyd County physician convicted of needlessly pulling teeth for profit has already served a four-month prison stint earlier in 2021.
Other pending cases involve accusations of inflating drug costs that resulted in Medicare and Tricare (a military health program) fraud charges.
Gutti’s exoneration is not over as, according to True, he will pursue reinstatement of his suspended license from the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.