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State troopers, feds raid southern Indiana doctor's office

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Friday, February 22, 2013 - 4:29 pm

CORYDON — A southern Indiana physician is facing a state investigation into allegations he's prescribed an unusually large number of painkillers, including potent drug combinations for young patients, and that six of his patients have died from overdoses since 2008.

State troopers and federal agents raided the Corydon offices of obstetrician-gynecologist Paul Kelty on Thursday after a Harrison County judge approved a search warrant.

Kelty has not been charged, but county Prosecutor Otto Schalk said Friday the well-known local physician is the focus of an ongoing investigation that also includes allegations that some of his patients had given birth to drug-addicted babies.

A probable cause affidavit filed with the search warrant request also said that some patients told investigators Kelty had touched, caressed and patted them inappropriately during examinations.

Schalk said it was premature for him to comment on whether Kelty might be charged or what charges he could face.

"At this point, everything we've seized is undergoing a forensic examination. Once that examination is complete, I will make the determination as to which charges are applicable and we'll move forward from there," he said.

Messages left Friday for Kelty at his Corydon office were not immediately returned, and a woman who answered the phone for his answering service said she could take messages only from Kelty's patients.

The affidavit states that an investigator for the Indiana Attorney General's office believes "Kelty presents a clear and present risk to the public." That investigator also said in the affidavit that Kelty has a "large opiate-dependent population."

The probe began after the state received complaints from local pharmacies that Kelty was writing an unusually high number of narcotic prescriptions for Medicaid patients.

Kelty's Medicaid billing practices are also under scrutiny, the court document states.

The affidavit said investigators were seeking patient medical files, billing records, cellphones, computers and other records — data that it said "may be critical in determining whether Kelty fraudulently billed Medicaid and is prescribing controlled substances without medical necessity."

The affidavit also states that six of Kelty's patients had died from prescription drug overdoses since 2008.

The attorney general office's investigator said in the filing that he had reviewed a database and found that Kelty wrote 31,490 prescriptions for 1,283 patients between 2008 and 2012 — and that about 1.08 million pills were dispensed.

His review revealed concerns that Kelty's patients were in a young age group, including a "large opiate-dependent pregnant population."

Schalk said investigators have received information "about several children born under his care being born addicted to pretty significant pain killers."

The state investigator also said in the affidavit that Kelty was prescribing some patients a potent combination of both hydrocodone and Xanax.

"And if you take those together you're about eight times more likely to overdose," Schalk said.

State records show Kelty obtained his medical license in 1979.