PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The FBI and the DEA raided a Gibsonia medical clinic and the home of the clinic’s founder Thursday, but the investigation started in 2014.
According to the criminal complaint, Dr. Andrzej Zielke is the founder of Medical Frontiers and is a board certified anesthesiologist, pain management and critical care specialist.
In November 2014, a confidential FBI source named Zielke as a physician known to write a large number of oxycodone prescriptions.
Frank Lembo works at Nu Age Fitness Center next door to Medical Frontiers. He could see patients coming and going all day.
“People in wheelchairs that looked like they were in real pain,” he said. “People with prosthetics and everything else going in. People limping with canes and walkers, getting medications and stuff like that.”
Donna Gray, who works at Allegheny Health Network, also saw the patients.
“His patents that would come, they just always looked like they were really stoned,” she said.
Medical Frontiers in Gibsonia was raided Thursday morning by FBI and DEA agents. Zielke’s home in Hampton was also searched by agents. Boxes of evidence were carted out of both locations.
According to the criminal complaint, patients at Medical Frontiers were observed by staff members as “high and falling over when they came in for their office visits.”
Patients interviewed say the doctor never prescribed an MRI nor asked them to conduct range of motion procedures to determine their pain, calling his medical office a “pill mill” with patients packed into a waiting area, many of them sleeping.
The federal investigation that began in 2014 also reveals Zielke charged patients $250 per visit, cash only. He prescribed oxycodone in 30 milligram tablets for 28 days instead of the usual 30 days so he could increase the number of visits from 12 to 13 a year.
According to the criminal complaint, all of Zielke’s patients were required to fill their prescriptions at the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Oakmont. No one there would comment.
The complaint indicates three of Zielke’s patients died from drug-related overdoses. He was arrested Thursday morning and released on a $20,000 unsecured bond.
Investigators say Zielke took all collected money home with him at the end of each day, along with a daily worksheet, and that his wife handled the finances of the business. She has not been charged.