During the Oct. 12 meeting of the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy meeting in Las Vegas, Dr. Adam Katschke was ordered to surrender his license and sell or close his Meadow Valley Pharmacy by Jan. 11, 2017.
Earlier this summer, Katschke took a plea bargain on one count of Medicaid fraud and one count insurance fraud. He agreed to pay $1.5 million in restitution and $100,000 in investigative costs.
According to Grover C. Dils Hospital Administrator Jason Bleak in Caliente, the hospital is interested in purchasing the pharmacy from Katschke. And at the same time, so is pharmacist Andrew Bleak, who works at the pharmacy.
The hospital board meeting on Monday in Caliente discussed their negotiations with Katschke about purchasing the pharmacy for $2 million.
After an hour of discussion, no action was taken because the board was at an impasse with two opposing motions having failed on the table for lack of a second.
The board will meet again Oct. 27 to take up the proposal of acquiring the pharmacy with hopes of making sure the county will not suffer a lapse in pharmacy services after Jan. 11.
During public comment, Andrew Bleak and others said they did not feel the pharmacy was worth $2 million. Another member of the public at the meeting said the numbers he could come up with put the value of everything at about $1.2 million.
However, Bleak said he has been denied by banks a purchase loan because of the fraud and high asking price. ?The fraud is hanging a black cloud over it,? he said. And he said he was concerned about using public funds for a private business venture. Grover C. Dils is a publically funded facility. He felt it should be a privately operated pharmacy.
Another member of the public said he thought it would be difficult to get an accurate evaluation of a business that has had fraud in its background and thought if it remained in private hands, it would be better able to continue as is.
A third person at the meeting said they felt more time was needed to investigate the matter and for the board not be in such a rush, 90 days time ought to be enough to pursue options not yet known. ?You really don?t know what it?s worth is right now. It?s not a wise thing to do, a better price might be determined later. I think the private sector should be given time to buy it.?
Board member Mick Lloyd said it has not been the board?s intent to cut out a private purchase of the pharmacy, ?but that we could offer a service to the people of the county if no one else could afford it.?
At the same time, Lloyd said he still had some questions that he felt needed to be addressed before an approval was given on the hospital purchasing the pharmacy. On the other side, board member Dixie Scarbro was anxious to see the sale take place as soon as possible. Board member Spencer Hafen recused himself from voting, although he felt there could be positive aspects of public or private ownership.
Lloyd and Scarbro both proposed motions for consideration, but each died for lack of a second. One person of the five-member board was absent and it was later felt it would be better to have that person?s input.
Jason Bleak said he needs to get an application prepared to submit to the state pharmacy board, but has been assured it would not likely be a problem and the pharmacy board has been gracious in granting a 90-day reprieve. ?They didn?t have to do this, but didn?t want to see the county be left with nothing.?
Andrew Bleak was asked if the hospital should takes over the pharmacy, would he seek to start his own pharmacy business? He said he probably would.