2 1/2 years in jail for doctor who prescribed drugs to addicts

Dr. Fernando Jayma pleaded guilty to medical fraud charges last month

Dr. Fernando Jayma is seen at center leaving the courtroom at Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield for his sentencing.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A doctor who pleaded guilty to charges that he over-prescribed powerful painkillers to addicts will spend the next two-and-a-half years in jail. Dr. Fernando Jayma was sentenced Tuesday, a month after he admitted to 22 counts of issuing false prescriptions, as well as medical fraud by provider, and larceny over $250.

Jayma practiced medicine in Ludlow, where he wrote prescriptions to patients that the attorney general’s office says had known substance abuse issues. Among the drugs he prescribed were oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, and methadone.

Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said that Jayma was the number-two prescriber of oxycodone statewide; prescribing the drug at a rate of 11 times the average.

Jayma was also charged with defrauding MassHealth; the state’s Medicaid system. He voluntarily gave up his license to practice medicine following his arrest in December of 2015.

Prosecutors requested that Jayma be sentenced to two to three years in state prison, followed by five years of probation. Jayma’s attorney wanted a suspended jail sentence for his client, with five years of probation.

During sentencing at Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield Tuesday, Justice Edward McDonough recited statistics of recent drug overdose deaths in Massachusetts to highlight the scope of the opioid problem in western Massachusetts. McDonough said that he had been prepared to issue Jayma a sentence similar to the one that the prosecution was recommending, but said that he was moved by letters from Jayma’s family, as well as other doctors and about 30 former patients attesting to his character. For that reason, he decided not to sentence Jayma to prison, though he said that he thought it was important that the former doctor be incarcerated for a period of time.

In addition to his jail sentence, Jayma will have to pay restitution to MassHealth for over-billing, and will have to serve probation following his release.

He is not going directly to jail, as McDonough granted him a two-week stay so that Jayma can make arrangements for the care of his ailing wife.

Though the case originated in Hampden County, sentencing was held in the Berkshires because that is where McDonough is sitting this month.