A CBS News report that exposed how a medical clinic was easily handing out prescriptions for pain medication has caught the attention of the Texas Medical Board.
"We are glad to see these operations exposed," said Board spokesperson Jill Wiggins who also stated investigators are reviewing a CBS News story that aired on the Evening News May 31.
Using hidden cameras, CBS News sent four people into a Houston medical clinic set up by Dr. Rodolfo Giraldi. The individuals, posing as new patients, were prescribed hundreds of powerful narcotic pills over the course of several days without needing to present medical records and without being given a physical exam as required by state law.
All four 'patients' were prescribed the medication by a man who presented himself as a doctor - 54-year-old Manuel Hernandez (pictured above) of Lake Jackson, Texas. But, CBS News discovered Hernandez has no license as a doctor, physician assistant or nurse. Practicing medicine without a license is against federal law.
While the Texas Medical Board can not confirm or deny an investigation they did tell CBS News that they'd inform us if a temporary suspension of Dr. Giraldi's medical license is issued. (As a licensed doctor associated with the clinic, Dr. Giraldi could be held responsible.)
"A temporary suspension is done when the board…determines an immediate threat to the public or to patients," Wiggins wrote in an email to CBS News. It would be illegal for a doctor to practice medicine while a temporary suspension order is in effect.
Investigators suspect that there are tens of thousands of medical clinics – known as pill mills – where prescriptions are written inappropriately operating to some degree nationwide. The Drug Enforcement Administration believes the highest concentration of these unethical clinics is in Florida and Texas.