Vermont doctor accused of prescription fraud


LONDONDERRY >> A local doctor who was dismissed from Mountain Valley Medical Clinic in July 2015 has been accused of prescription fraud.

According to a press release from the Vermont State Police, an investigation into Melanie M. Canon, 49, of Weston, began after a complaint about possible prescription fraud and deceit by a physician was received in January 2016.

The complaint alleged that Canon was prescribing and retrieving Oxycodone from a local pharmacy and not delivering the regulated drugs to her patients.

According to State Police, Canon had been regularly seeing patients outside of normal practice and conducting home visits, but was not keeping patient notes or charts for any of her patient visits or care from July 2015 until March 2016. During those months, she prescribed and issued numerous prescriptions for Oxycodone, a strong opioid pain reliever and regulated drug in Vermont, stated the press release.

An investigation, with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Vermont Board of Medical Practice, revealed at least eight occasions when Canon prescribed a prescription narcotic and retrieved those prescriptions from the pharmacy without the knowledge of her patients. Those narcotic prescriptions were reported to never have been delivered to her prescribed patients. According to the press release, it is an uncommon practice for physicians to prescribe, retrieve and sign out medications from the pharmacy and deliver them to patients at their homes. Canon allegedly diverted or falsely prescribed more than 1,200 Oxycodone (Percocet) tablets from her patients for her own use.

Canon has been cited with eight counts of prescription fraud; however, additional charges could be filed at a later date if additional patients can be located. Canon submitted to a cessation of her license to practice medicine in Vermont on April 6 and is expected in court on June 14.

When Canon lost her job at the Londonderry-based Mountain Valley Medical Clinic, it did not go unnoticed.

Residents and patients met with the clinic's board of directors on July 27 after not being provided with details about Canon's dismissal. The clinic is an independent organization governed by a board of directors. No board member could comment on personnel issues, Chairman Chuck Sweetman said in a previous interview.

"The board is bound by doing what is correct in personnel matters," he said. "They do that by policy and practice, by ethical standards and legal standards."

In an interview in August, Canon said she was going to start her own practice. She had moved to Vermont from East Harlem, N.Y., in 2013.

Canon claimed last year that Sweetman had mentioned rumors about her leaving. But she insisted she had no plans of the sort. "I love the community here. I love being the community doctor. We were very welcomed."

After holding her annual "Doc Stock" party in her backyard and missing the clinic's fundraising party, Canon said she was fired on her second day back. There was no warning, mediation process or run-ins with board members, she said.

"I didn't see this coming at all from the board. I have no idea why I was fired except I'm not 'the right fit.' That's what Chuck (Sweetman) told me when I asked," said Canon, after she was terminated.


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