Montco psychiatrist charged with running 'pill mill'

A Montgomery County psychiatrist has been charged with improperly prescribing narcotics to opioid addicts.

Spiros Y. Kassis, 65, of Plymouth Meeting, was charged Feb. 14 with 14 counts of administration or dispensing of a controlled substance by a practitioner for other than approved use, 14 counts of recklessly endangering another person, and other related crimes.

Kassis was released after posting $250,000 bail. A March 13 preliminary hearing was continued; no new date has been scheduled, according to public records.

On Feb. 20, his medical license was temporarily suspended pending a hearing after the state Board of Medicine reviewed the Montgomery County affidavit and determined Kassis allegedly used “dangerous prescribing practices,” according to public records.

Efforts to reach his attorney were not immediately successful.

“Dr. Kassis is charged with illegally prescribing opioids and we are going to pursue this within all the limits of the law to shut down the dirty doctors,” said Kate Delano, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.

According to public records, Montgomery County detectives received a call that Kassis was prescribing narcotic painkillers to opioid addicts. The caller described Kassis’ medical practice as a “pill mill.”

Detectives used two confidential sources to infiltrate his practice as regular patients with neck and back pain. One of the sources had been a previous patient of Kassis and was treated for an opioid addiction. Kassis never physically examined either of the informants, never followed up with other doctors to see if the complaints were legitimate, did not routinely check the prescription-drug monitoring program, and delayed or never demanded urine samples, according to the criminal complaint.

In addition, Kassis was paid $200 in cash every two weeks by the sources in exchange for the drugs, which included Oxycodone. He would also prescribe the narcotics over the phone and accept payment by credit card, according to public records.

In December, Kassis, who has another medical practice in Scranton, was interviewed by Scranton-based Department of State investigators in an unrelated complaint. He confirmed he did not examine patients, saying his office was not a primary-care practice. Kassis said that his daughter, Rana Kassis, was a physician-in-training in his practice and that she would speak with patients, relay her findings to him, and he would order prescriptions. Rana Kassis’ graduate medical trainee license expired in June 30, 2016, according to public records.