Courts
Jonathan Miano, The Times

An Indiana medical board recently upheld the probation of the license of a Portage podiatrist accused of ordering more than 27,000 narcotic painkillers, as well as thousands of other controlled substances, over a two-year period.

The Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating Dr. Frederick Fedorchak in October 2014 after large quantities of hydrocodone were ordered under his license.

In August 2015, according to a complaint filed by the Indiana attorney general's office, the DEA raided Fedorchak's home and clinic, finding thousands of tablets of controlled substances, including in his bedroom and basement.

The attorney general's office accused Fedorchak of improper recordkeeping and storage of controlled substances, not having a DEA license for his home, prescribing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose, and ordering medication for himself and his family members for non-foot-related purposes. The complaint claimed he had a "severe dependency" on drugs, "impairing his ability to practice safely."

Asked for comment, Fedorchak, who continues to practice while his license is on probation, blamed the entire incident on a now-deceased former employee, who the doctor claims ordered and diverted the pills without his knowledge.

"No one in the DEA ever told me about these large amounts of controlled substances. No one in the DEA ever suggested that I had any involvement in the ordering of these controlled substances, other than the fact that my DEA number was used," he stated. "I never saw, I never handled any of these controlled substances described in the complaint by the attorney general's office."

He pointed to the fact that, in March 2017, his license to prescribe controlled substances was reinstated by the Indiana Pharmacy Board. His DEA registration also was restored after he agreed to be monitored by the agency for five years.

In November 2016, Fedorchak agreed to a settlement with the state, placing him on indefinite probation (for a minimum of three years), a $1,000 fine and a year of monitoring by the Positive Sobriety Institute, including drug testing.

In May 2017, Fedorchak petitioned the podiatry board to have his probation withdrawn. The board denied that request.

Asked about Fedorchak's claims, a spokesman for the Indiana attorney general's office, Corey Elliott, referred to the settlement agreement, in which both parties stipulated to the violations outlined in the complaint. A spokeswoman for the podiatry board, Julia Camara, said it does not comment on disciplinary actions. A DEA spokesman, James Jones, said the agency can't comment because the case is ongoing.

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Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.