Dr. John Crawford says he used to refer patients to doctor accus - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

Dr. John Crawford says he used to refer patients to doctor accused in Medicaid fraud investigation

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ABC 21) -- A multi-count indictment alleges that family doctor James Ranochak, who has an office inside the North Anthony Pharmacy and Wellness Center, along with pharmacists Brent Losier and Charles Ringger, conspired to sell scheduled substances like methadone, hydrocodone and the steroid testosterone.

Fort Wayne City Councilman and practicing physician Dr. John Crawford says he knew Dr. Ranochack in the 1990's when he was a surgeon.

"I knew him a little bit just as one referring doctor to another, but it seemed like he was always a little too much in a hurry for some reason and did seem to have a lot of complications. So, after a while then a lot of us didn’t refer to him," said Dr. Crawford.

In 1996, the Indiana Attorney General's office filed a complaint with the Indiana Medical Licensing Board after three patients died following surgeries performed by Dr. Ranochak.

The complaint alleged that Dr. Ranochak's actions, or inactions, led to patient deaths "as a direct and proximate result" of his care. 

The Indiana medical licensing board upheld the claims -- and imposed a series of punishments:
     a license suspension
     a ban on performing surgery
     and indefinite probation.

In 2007, Dr. Ranochak re-gained some of his privileges and began practicing family medicine in Fort Wayne.

"I mean, it makes us all look bad," said Dr. Crawford.

ABC 21 asked the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency why the Medical Licensing Board would lift Dr. Ranochak's probation.

They sent us a section of Indiana code that states that the medical board can withdraw or modify a probation if all of the required disciplinary actions have been remedied.

They compared it to trying to keep someone in jail after they've served their entire sentence.

They added that folks can protect themselves when looking for a doctor by visiting the licensing agency's IN.gov website and using the "search and verify" page to search doctors by name.

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