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Joint Investigation Leads to Arrest in Winter Park

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

February 05, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2015

Contact: Communications Office
(850) 245-4111

Joint Investigation Leads to Arrest in Winter Park

TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Health’s Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) Investigation Services Unit (ISU) Orlando office announced that their joint investigation with the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI) led to the arrest of Eric Emerson, the owner of Winter Park Pain and Wellness, a pain management clinic. Emerson was arrested for racketeering, which is a first degree felony, and multiple charges of trafficking hydromorphone over 28 grams.

Dr. Roland Brutus, the designated physician of the clinic, was also arrested for racketeering and multiple charges of trafficking hydromorphone. The department issued an Emergency Restriction Order (ERO) against Dr. Brutus’ medical license, restricting him from prescribing Schedules II-IV controlled substances. Three other staff, Tara Reynolds, Tameka Heard and Jesica Gallo, were arrested for involvement in operation of the clinic and also issued cease-and-desist notices for the unlicensed practice of medicine.

MBI conducted numerous undercover visits to the clinic throughout the investigation during which Dr. Brutus prescribed large amounts of narcotics with little evaluation or consideration of medical necessity. The clinic only accepted cash for visits and painkiller prescriptions. The department determined that an ERO was appropriate based on this evidence as well as records from the undercover visits.

The department has several resources to combat unlicensed activity:

  • Consumers are encouraged to use the department’s website www.flhealthsource.gov where they can conveniently view the license information of their health care practitioner and find complaint forms;
  • Complaints can be filed by completing and mailing in a complaint form from the website; and
  • Consumers can also call 1-877-HALT-ULA to file an unlicensed activity complaint by telephone, and complainants may remain anonymous if they wish to do so.

Working in conjunction with 22 boards and eight councils, MQA regulates seven types of facilities and 200-plus license types in more than 40 healthcare professions. MQA evaluates the credentials of all applicants for licensure, issues licenses, analyzes and investigates complaints, inspects facilities, assists in prosecuting practice act violations, combats unlicensed activity and provides credential and discipline history about licensees to the public. Visit www.flhealthsource.gov for additional information about MQA.

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.floridahealth.gov.

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