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8 N.J.A.R. 517

Medical Assistance and Health Services, Division of v. Kares, Francis, R.P
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Citation: 8 N.J.A.R. 517
Decision Date: 1983
Agency: DIVISION OF MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
Synopsis: The Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services sought respondent's permanent disqualification from participation in the State Medicaid and Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged Programs based upon his pleas of guilty to crimes arising out of the possession and distribution of controlled dangerous substances. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that respon- dent, a licensed pharmacist, had entered pleas of guilty to possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession with intent to distribute that substance. Although liable to imprisonment and a substantial fine, respondent was assigned to three years of proba- tionary supervision which was terminated after one year. While determining that offenses relating to controlled dangerous substances did involve moral turpitude, the judge noted that respon- dent did not financially profit from or personally use the drugs in- volved here and that this incident was his only arrest record. The judge concluded that while the nature and quality of the of- fenses committed by respondent here might well warrant the termin- ation of his license, such a decision was more properly before the State Board of Pharmacy. Were the offense to strike directly at the integrity and effectiveness of the programs themselves, the Division could act independently of any other State agency; to disqualify permanently one whose offense violates no special proscription of the program administered, but rather offends society at large, would in effect preempt those set to render such a judgment. Accordingly, the judge concluded that permanent disqualification was an excessive remedy and ordered that respondent be barred from the programs for two years. Upon review, the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Set- 518 Office of Administrative kaw vices modified the initial decision. The Division found that N.J.S.A. 30:4D-17. l(a) vests the Division with the authority to suspend persons from participating in Medicaid independent of any licensing board. The Division ordered respondent's disqualification to remain in effect until he had successfully reapplied for' reinstatement of his license. Karen Suter, Deputy Attorney General for petitioner (Irwin I. Kim- melman, Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney) Joseph W. Spagnoli, Esq. for respondent (Spagnoli and Thuring, at- torneys) Initial Decision