Thursday, July 10, 2014

Doctor accused of Rx abuses, patient death

AG: Tarapchak smuggled drugs into Lackawanna prison

January 02. 2014 10:13PM

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Drug-fueled trysts. Improper prescriptions. Smuggling pills into prison hidden in her rectum.

And one dead patient.

Dr. Stephanie Tarapchak, an Ashland osteopathic doctor who specializes in internal medicine, faces a lengthy list of charges after a statewide grand jury investigation into a string of alleged offenses in Luzerne, Lackawanna and Schuylkill counties stretching over more than three years, state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said Thursday.

According to the grand jury, Tarapchak unlawfully prescribed and dispensed thousands of controlled substances, including the highly addictive drugs oxycodone and hydrocodone, between January 2008 and August 2011.

Records show Tarapchak’s medical license was suspended by the state in 2012 after she allegedly violated the terms of a previous probation order requiring her to submit to a drug test, undergo an evaluation of her fitness to continue practing and to submit required documentation in connection with the order.

In June 2011, according to the grand jury, one of Tarapchak’s patients, Thomas Kromer, 52, was found dead in his Mahanoy City apartment. Toxicology tests revealed high levels of multiple prescription drugs in his system — prescribed by Tarapchak — including opioids believed to have contributed to Kromer’s death, the grand jury found.

The grand jury also found that in order to supply her own drug addiction, Tarapchak fraudulently billed insurance companies for patient visits and procedures that were never performed and split the payments with her staff and patients.

Investigation revealed that she ordered excessive amounts of controlled substances from a wholesale supplier, including diet pills, sedatives and testosterone.

Jurors said they learned that Tarapchak became involved with a man named Delton Bolton, with whom she shared injections of intravenous drugs, including during sex.

“Bolton would subsequently learn from Tarapchak that she enjoyed having sex while hallicinating on Benadryl,” according to court documents. Benadryl is a brand name for the antihistamine diphenhydramine.

In November 2010, court documents say, Tarapchak’s own 16-year-old daughter overdosed on Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug that had been prescribed by Tarapchak.

According to court documents, in 2010 Tarapchak picked up prescriptions for the drug at pharmacies in Wilkes-Barre and Dickson City by signing a false name, the jury found, on dates when she had supervised visitation with her children.

In April 2011, Tarapchak was ordered to spend 10 weekends in the Lackawanna County jail over a contempt order connected with her contacting the daughter and two other siblings against a judge’s order, as well as for allegedly lying about supplying Xanax to her daughter.

While incarcerated, Tarapchak smuggled prescription medications into the prison inside her rectum, court documents say.

She is charged with multiple offenses, including drug delivery resulting in death, prescribing outside the scope of practice, distribution/prescription to a drug dependent person, failure to keep records, perjury and insurance fraud.

Tarapchak was arraigned and placed in the Lackawanna County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Jan. 9 at 11 a.m. in Lackawanna County Court.

The case will be prosecuted in Lackawanna County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Robert LaBar of the attorney general’s Insurance Fraud Section.

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