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One of six drug treatment clinics in Rochester to be closed after charges filed

ROCHESTER – A chain of clinics in New Hampshire and Vermont that offered medically assisted treatment for people with substance use disorders has suddenly closed, and state health officials are urging patients to find new providers.

All six New England Medicine and Counseling Associates offices are closed, including one in Rochester at 40 Winter Street in the Professional Arts Centre office building. The closure will impact patients with prescriptions from the offices.

Adnan S. Khan, MD, 48, of Grantham, is alleged to have “orchestrated his alleged conspiracies to illegally prescribe drugs and commit health care fraud through New England Medicine and Counseling Associates (NEMCA), which operated a network of clinics in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine,” according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Khan is accused of distributing drugs to people outside of his usual professional activities and without a legitimate medical purpose. He was charged in April.

“Khan allegedly required patients to pay cash for their prescriptions, even though many of his patients were insured through Medicare and Vermont Medicaid. Khan allegedly prescribed the drugs knowing that at least some of his patients were abusing and misusing the drugs. In addition, Dr. Khan allegedly ordered medically unnecessary urine drug tests and solicited kickbacks and bribes from laboratories, even though he knew that the costs of the medically unnecessary tests would go to the federal health care programs,” the Justice Department said.

Khan is charged with one count of conspiracy to illegally distribute a controlled substance, 12 counts of illegal distribution of a controlled substance, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and two counts of health care fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the illegal distribution counts and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each of the health care fraud counts.

As a condition of Khan's release pending trial, he is prohibited from writing prescriptions for controlled substances.

It was not immediately known whether Khan has a lawyer. The indictment states that a grand jury found there was sufficient evidence for a trial.

In 2023, another business also experienced a fatal shooting in the office building of the Professional Arts Centre, where the drug treatment clinic was operated.

Where were the now-closed New England Medicine and Counseling Associates clinics?

The chain offered services at the following locations:

  • 120 Route 10 South, Grantham, NH
  • 17 Coitview Drive, Newport, NH
  • 376 South Willow Street, Manchester, NH
  • 40 Winter Street, Suite 308, Rochester, NH
  • 1 Scale Avenue, Building 18, Suite 301, Rutland, VT
  • 85 Prim Road, Suite 302, Colchester, VT

NH health officials offer advice to patients

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services urges patients of New England Medicine and Counseling Associates to make alternative health arrangements.

In a news release, state health officials encouraged patients with prescriptions for controlled drugs to seek treatment again from another doctor. They said they expect emergency rooms to see an increase in the number of patients experiencing withdrawal symptoms or asking for buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid use disorder, until they can seek treatment again from another doctor.

“When patients treated with medications like buprenorphine suddenly lose access to their medications, they are at increased risk of opioid overdose and may experience significant withdrawal symptoms if treatment is not resumed quickly,” said Dr. Jonathan Ballard, chief medical officer of NH DHHS, in a prepared statement. “The risks of taking nonprescription medications have never been higher due to the increasing prevalence of substances like fentanyl, and it is important that individuals with opioid use disorder continue treatment.”

New England Medicine and Counseling patients who need assistance finding a new healthcare provider can call 211 in New Hampshire or VTHelplink (802-565-LINK) in Vermont.

NHDHHS warns people who no longer have access to their prescription medications not to attempt to obtain them through the illegal drug market.

“Illegally obtained drugs are often not what they appear to be and may contain contaminants or other extremely potent substances such as fentanyl, which significantly increase the risk of overdose and death,” the press release warns.

“We have nothing to do with what is happening, we are making sure affected patients can connect with providers to continue their treatment and recovery,” said Jake Leon, a spokesperson for NHDHHS. “DHHS is working to identify as many of the clinics' patients as possible to connect them with alternative providers. We are notifying providers and working with community partners to meet patient needs. The Doorways can also help connect people with services.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a policy in 2023 that will no longer require a special exemption to treat patients with opioid use disorder with buprenorphine, health officials said. New Hampshire has partnered with the New Hampshire Medical Society to train more than 600 health care workers statewide to prescribe buprenorphine.

New Hampshire residents concerned about a possible overdose in family members or friends can obtain the opioid overdose treatment drug naloxone at all New Hampshire Doorway stores and over the counter at pharmacies across the state, health officials said.

Anyone needing access to opioid treatment services can contact the HHS-OIG Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a referral to treatment services at 1-800-662-4359.

Anna Harden

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