In last week's HealthLeaders Media Online, a 350-word story was headlined: NY Physician Charged in Medicaid Drug Fraud Ring.
The article was about Diana Williamson, MD, who allegedly wrote nearly $1 million in prescriptions paid by Medicaid for 11,000 Oxycontin, Percocet, and generic oxycontin pills that were sold in a fraud scheme, authorities said. Eight others were involved in the alleged plot.
It was another sad tale about a doc allegedly gone bad. The small item intrigued me. Williamson is 54 years old, undoubtedly a doctor for years, I figured. There must be an arc to her story, I thought.
Indeed, there is an arc to Williamson's story, as the New York media swarmed around Williamson's unlikely tale. For Williamson, dubbed the "boss" in the alleged drug dealing scheme, is a physician who spent years working with AIDS patients, and helping—yes—drug abusers stop their behaviors. The irony is thick, but we've seen and heard it before, almost to the point of being a cliché: someone who fought so hard against drug abuse is now allegedly entangled in the illicit trade.
It's not the norm, of course, but each of these over-the-edge stories has its own special meaning. No wonder there has been shock that Williamson was arrested and why. In New York, Williamson gained fame in 1998 as an advocate for AIDS patients and drug abusers when Crain's New York described her as one of their "40 under 40" rising stars. Crain's New York Business.