Judge orders house arrest for Woodstock's drug-dispensing doctor

Above: A short video clip by Daily Freeman reporter Paul Kirby about the sentencing of Wayne Longmore, former proprietor of the Walk-In Doctor's Office on Mill Hill Road in Woodstock.

Wayne Longmore, a 63-year-old Woodstock doctor who pled guilty last October to dispensing hydrocodone without a legitimate medical purpose, was sentenced in federal court in a plea agreement that stripped Longmore of his medical license and sentenced him to six months of house arrest.

The sentence was handed down in an Albany courthouse on Thursday, February 7 by U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn.

In addition, Longmore must pay a $200,000 fine, must perform 200 hours of community service, and will be subject to three years of probation. He must also attend substance abuse and mental health counseling. Longmore has already surrendered his car, which was seized upon his arrest in March of 2012.

A press release issued by the FBI about Longmore's sentencing states that Longmore regularly issued seven-day prescriptions of hydrocodone in exchange for $60 cash payments, without medical reason.

Times-Union reporter Robert Gavin, who attended Longmore's sentencing, writes that Longmore's tiny walk-in clinic on Mill Hill Road was the fifth-highest prescriber of painkillers in a vast upstate New York region, surpassing many area hospitals:

Federal prosecutors requested six months of incarceration for Longmore, who had prescribed hydrocodone, a highly addictive opiate, from his Woodstock Walk-in Doctor's Office on Mill Hill Road. An FBI agent's affidavit identified Longmore as the fifth-highest prescriber of painkillers — including among medical institutions — across a section of New York stretching from the Kingston area to the Canadian border.

In court, Gavin reports, Longmore pleaded for leniency:

"I would appreciate any consideration, Judge Kahn, that you could afford me," Longmore said. "If I was allowed to have probation I could at least earn an income."

In 2004, Longmore temporarily surrendered his medical license after the Medical Society of New York raised concerns about his mental health and fitness to practice. The Daily Freeman's Paul Kirby, who also attended yesterday's sentencing, writes of Longmore's earlier entanglements with state officials:

Longmore’s troubles began in February 2003, when the Medical Society of New York raised questions about his fitness to practice medicine, alleging he suffered from bipolar disorder and that the condition imperiled the safety of his patients.

Longmore said he did not suffer from the disorder, but he temporarily surrendered his license to practice medicine in 2004, based on a recommendation from the Medical Society. The surrender headed off action by the state Department of Health that could have led to Longmore losing his license permanently.

Longmore also said he agreed to temporarily give up his license to avoid a costly legal fight.

Many of Longmore's former patients continued to support the doctor throughout his recent legal troubles, citing his devotion to patient care and his small clinic's importance to the region's burgeoning population of uninsured patients. The court received many letters on Longmore's behalf. Paul Smart writes in this week's Woodstock Times:

At the sentencing, [Longmore's attorney David] Gruenberg noted Longmore’s long career as a doctor, his cooperation with authorities, the cumulative punishing effect of his loss of career and livelihood as part of his plea deal, and a wealth of letters from Woodstock community members that came in on the doctor’s behalf as reason for being lenient when sentencing his client. He spoke eloquently about the role one’s profession plays in his self image as the doctor, looking more aged than he has in recent years, sat next to him.