TOMS RIVER, NJ - Area residents may recall the arrest a few years ago of Dr. Liviu Holca. Dr. Holca had an office on Beacon Drive next to the Southern Ocean County Hospital. Dr. Holca was a physician with the hospital. He was known to spend many hours working late on the hospital floors while having a very busy medical office. The office was described by an anonymous former patient as being "unkept, no frills type, 1970's style office that looked awful inside and outside."
To avoid a trial, Dr. Holca pleaded guilty in Ocean County Court Superior Court recently to money laundering and distributing oxycodone in exchange for the dismissal of 22 other charges that he was facing.
Dr. Holca is facing a possible one year term in state prison and forfeiture of over $100,000 dollars seized at his home during the raid in January 2014.
Holca was arrested on January 24, 2014 by Ocean County law enforcement personnel and charged with prescribing quantities of Controlled Dangerous Substances without medical necessity, along with other charges.
Holca's arrest followed a joint investigation led by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. During the investigation, Holca allegedly wrote prescriptions for hundreds of Percocet and Xanax pills for an undercover officer whom Holca believed to be a patient.
The undercover officer repeatedly told Holca that she did not need the pills for any medical reason, but that she took them because they made her “feel good” and that she also gave them to friends.
In addition, data obtained from the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) demonstrated an alleged pattern by Holca of indiscriminately prescribing controlled opiate painkillers to multiple patients between May 2011 and December 2013. The NJPMP, maintained by the Division of Consumer Affairs, tracks the prescription and sale of medications classified as Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) and is an important component of New Jersey’s fight against prescription drug diversion and abuse.
It is important to note that New Jersey emergency rooms now have access to these records. This helps stop chronic abusers of the system from obtaining these pain pills which so often contributes to more dangerous, less expensive alternatives like heroin. The heroin death rate in Ocean County is a great concern for it's residents.
According to the Ocean County Prosecutors Office as posted on their website:
“The Division of Consumer Affairs partnered with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office to stop Dr. Holca’s alleged indiscriminate prescribing,” Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee said. “Today’s action by the Board of Medical Examiners will ensure he is unable to practice medicine or write prescriptions until further order of the Board.”
As set forth in the Attorney General’s administrative complaint against Holca, which was filed before the Board of Medical Examiners by the Division of Law:
Holca prescribed CDS painkillers to the undercover officer and other patients, without conducting physical examinations, creating written treatment plans, or performing consultations. His office allegedly accepted cash payments from the undercover officer, during each visit in which Holca prescribed painkillers.
Although the undercover officer repeatedly told Holca that she had no medical need for the pills and that she misused them, on one occasion he asked her to provide a handwritten note justifying her need for the pills. He asked her to write that she had back pain, would not operate heavy machinery, and would not hold Holca responsible for problems.
NJPMP and other records indicate that Holca repeatedly prescribed CDS to patients who showed various warning signs of addiction or drug diversion. In two cases, insurance or pharmacy benefit management companies warned Holca about the drug-related activities of specific patients. One company repeatedly notified Holca that a patient had obtained opioid narcotics from several pharmacies and multiple physicians. Even after receiving these notices, Holca allegedly continued to prescribe CDS to the patient."