Dr. Miller sentenced

NEW ULM – A 59-year-old former New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) physician who originally faced three felony controlled substance charges for stealing Oxycontin pills from a vulnerable adult, received a stay of imposition Monday in Brown County District Court.

Dr, David Christopher Miller was convicted Monday of felony theft. Charges of third degree possession of a controlled substance – possession of 50 or more dosages of a narcotic mixture and fifth degree procurement/possession/control by fraud or deceit, were dismissed, according to a plea agreement. Successful probation completion results in a misdemeanor conviction.

Miller pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree theft in exchange for dismissal of the two felony controlled substance counts. He was fined $2,080 and sentenced to 45 days in the Brown County Jail. He may serve 15 jail days via Sentence to Serve if fees are paid.

Miller was placed on 10 years probation. Conditions include speaking to Brown/Nicollet/Watonwan Drug Courts in each county, refraining from handling, distributing and prescribing medication throughout probation, except for his own medication, as prescribed by another medical professional. In addition, he must successfully complete out-patient treatment, follow all recommendations, participate in victim/offender mediation; pay fee, or if not appropriate, write an apology letter to victims and submit it to probation for approval.

Brown County Attorney Paul Gunderson said Monday that sentencing guidelines were followed for the case and that he had no further comments.

Miller was charged in February after New Ulm Police investigators set up hidden surveillance cameras that recorded him stealing pills during a meeting with a patient at as assisted living facility. The pills were later recovered in his coat pocket. The complaint alleged Miller tried to mask taking the pills from the patient by replacing them with over-the-counter drugs.

The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice did not take any action against Miller while the case was still in court system.

In February, Miller worked as a physician with the Physicians Group of New Ulm and as a NUMC consulting doctor at the Brown County Evaluation (detox) Center. His detox responsibilities included consulting with staff on how to handle new client medical or health issues.

Nearly 20 years ago, Miller had problems with drugs abuse.

The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice ordered Miller to abstain from controlled substances and undergo treatment on July 16, 1994 after he was confirmed to have used cannabis several times and took Percocet tablets under the guise of obtaining samples. The order added that he wrote prescriptions for himself under false patient names and abused other drugs including tranquilizers, barbiturates, amphetamines and hallucinogens.

Miller received Board disciplinary action on March 11, 1995, including medical license restriction after he wrote prescriptions for Perdodan and Percocet. His license was reinstated on Sept. 9, 2000 after he followed his disciplinary action terms.

Miller was admitted to the Brown County Jail Monday after his sentencing.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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