Board: VB dentists traded dental work for drugs, prescribed excessive amounts of opioids

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Two Virginia Beach dentists had their licenses suspended by the Virginia Board of Dentistry for writing excessive and unnecessary prescriptions, and trading dental work for help with drug activity. 

No dental insurance? No problem for an individual referred to only as “Patient A” in the suspension summary for Dr. Gary Hartman. 

After an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Dr. Hartman’s license was suspended this past December. 

The outcome of the investigation, outlined in the suspension summary, says “Patient A” and Dr. Hartman worked out a deal. He performed dental work, and in exchange she filled pain prescriptions for him. 

The paperwork details 22 accounts. Some are similar to “Patient A’s” story. Others say the dentist prescribed excessive amounts of drugs to known drug abusers. 

In one account, a patient of Hartman’s died from a combined overdose of ethanol, cocaine and hydrocodone. In a three-year timespan, Dr. Hartman wrote prescriptions for more than 4,000 hydrocodone pills for the patient. The latest prescription was written nine days before the man died.

During a federal search of his office, DEA agents gave Dr. Hartman a drug test. He was positive for amphetamines, opioids and marijuana.

10 On Your Side stopped by Dr. Hartman’s practice on Tuesday, and it was closed. 

About a mile away is the office of the second suspended dentist, Dr. Arnold Berger.

The legal documents say Dr. Berger also prescribed excessive amounts of narcotics to known drug abusers and wrote prescriptions for reasons outside the norm for dental treatment. Dr. Berger is part of a larger practice.

The office he worked out of was open and treating patients when we stopped by, but his partners did not respond to our request for an interview. 

Both Dr. Berger and Dr. Hartman are not allowed to practice right now. 

Dr. Hartman’s hearing before the board will be May 10. Dr. Berger’s hearing date is still being decided.  

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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