St. Vincent wants judge to order investigators to cooperate in case of fired physician

St. Vincent Medical Group wants to know more about why and when the federal government began investigating a Carmel doctor it fired in 2020, and has asked a federal judge to order the Department of Justice help it get to the bottom of the matter.

The medical group, part of health care giant Ascension Inc., filed a complaint Feb. 2 in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.

It’s the latest twist in a long-running story involving Dr. Timothy Story, who worked for St. Vincent Medical Group for a decade, but was fired in August 2020 after St. Vincent learned of a federal investigation into his prescribing practices.

St. Vincent Medical Group, based in Indianapolis, has said it fired Story for failing to notify it of the federal investigation, as required by his employment agreement.

Story has said he was unaware he was the target of any federal investigation, and even if he was, he was not required to notify St. Vincent of it. He sued the medical group last year in Indiana Commercial Court, claiming breach of contract and tortious interference with business relationships.

Now, St. Vincent is trying to mount a defense to Story’s civil suit and wants to show that Story knew of the federal investigation and failed to notify the medical group.

Lawyers for St. Vincent have asked the U.S Justice Department repeatedly for two federal officials to disclose their communication with Story regarding an investigation, but U.S. Attorney Zachary Myers in Indianapolis has declined, citing grand jury secrecy, according to exhibit filed in the federal case.

St. Vincent said it learned in August 2020 from an investigator with the Drug Enforcement Administration and later from an assistant U.S. attorney that the DEA was conducting an investigation into Story. The two federal officials informed St. Vincent that it had previously issued a subpoena to Story, and that he had provided records to the government.

In August and September 2020, St. Vincent received grand jury subpoenas from the Department of Justice seeking documents into its investigation. St. Vincent conducted its own internal investigation, culminating with the termination of Story.

“There is a conflict in the evidence in the state court matter between Dr. Story’s testimony and testimony from (St. Vincent) personnel concerning the nature and scope of DOJ’s investigation,” St. Vincent’s complaint states.

To try to resolve the conflict, St. Vincent wants to depose the DEA investigator and the assistant U.S. attorney in the case. The Justice Department has refused to allow that, documents show.

“Most of the communications occurred in the context of a grand jury investigation,” Myers wrote to St. Vincent outside counsel Andrew McNeil of Boise McKinney & Evans on Jan. 18.

The case was assigned to Judge James Patrick Hanlon.

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