CASE UPDATE: West Philadelphia Doctor Pleads To Prescription Practices That Led To The Death of Patient

October 20, 2021 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today that a West Philadelphia doctor previously charged for irresponsible and dangerous prescription practices that led to the death of his patient was found guilty after pleading no contest and will surrender his medical license.

“Communities in West Philadelphia trusted Dr. Wrenn to care for their families and keep them healthy. Instead, he recklessly prescribed dangerous opioids in order to enrich himself, despite the deadly consequences.” said AG Shapiro. “ Dr. Wrenn will never practice medicine again, and we continue to go after doctors that fuel the opioid crisis and put their patients’ health at risk.”

Dr. Walter Wrenn, 81, of Philadelphia, was previously charged in February 2021. An investigation revealed that Wrenn had previously prescribed one patient 60 units of Morphine, 180 units of Oxycodone, 90 units of Alprazolam and 60 units of Temazepam. The next day, On March 3, 2019, the patient died as a result of an accidental overdose from cocaine, oxycodone, and morphine. In order to prescribe these medications, Wrenn also fabricated the patient’s diagnosis. Keystone First relied upon this false information and approved medications that were paid with Medicaid funds.

Expert review of files revealed that Dr. Wrenn’s care was woefully inadequate, in reckless disregard for patient safety and health, medically inappropriate, and did not follow all the standards of care.

Dr. Wrenn pleaded no contest to Medicaid Fraud, Tampering with Public Records, Involuntary Manslaughter and Recklessly Endangering Another Person.  He was sentenced to a total of five years of probation, permanently surrendered his medical license and DEA registration, and was ordered to pay restitution to the Medicaid program for the cost of the illegal prescriptions and agreed to never practice medicine again.

The Pennsylvania Medicaid Fraud Control Unit receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $9,133,920 for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2022. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $3,044,638 for FY 2022, is funded by Pennsylvania.

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