News of the Day ... in Perspective1/31/2004
Jeri Hassman, M.D. pleads guilty to not ratting on patients.
On Jan. 29, Jeri Hassman, M.D., who was indicted on more than 300 counts of prescribing controlled substances outside the course of a legitimate medical practice, entered a guilty plea to four counts of knowingly comforting or assisting four patients who possessed controlled drugs obtained through misrepresentation, deception, or fraud–that is, to being an accessory after the fact to patients’ crimes.
In one case, she had been informed by a pharmacist that a patient had filled a prescription for her mother, also a patient, and then handed it to an unknown man in the parking lot, who drove away. The patient told her that the unknown man was the patient’s nephew. In another case, a patient admitted to possessing some drugs prescribed for his deceased father. In the third case, a patient admitted on an initial office visit to having once possessed someone else’s prescription. Finally, two patients told the defendant that a certain patient had stolen part of their prescriptions; Dr. Hassman documented this in the patients’ medical records but did not call the police.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, she could be sentenced to up to 6 months in prison or up to 5 years probation. The plea agreement enabled her to avoid decades in jail under the sentencing guidelines had she been convicted on any one of the 300 counts. She will be sentenced on April 8.