Dr. Michael Kostenko, who formerly owned and operated Coal Country Clinic in Daniels, was arrested Wednesday on 17 counts of knowingly and intentionally distributing oxycodone not for legitimate medical purposes.
Kostenko is also charged with three counts of distributing oxycodone that resulted in the deaths of three patients.
Kostenko's medical license was initially suspended March 3 after the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine found probable cause of unprofessional and unethical conduct that may have contributed to the overdose deaths of three patients.
According to testimony in March, Kostenko’s records did not show that he had tried more conservative treatment before prescribing oxycodone to the patients in question, no physical exams were documented and pill counts and urine screens were not in the patient files.
Kostenko argued he examined patients, performed screens and discharged patients who did not follow their contract, but that information was not documented directly in patient files.
The hearing examiner recommended to the Board of Osteopathic Medicine that Kostenko’s license be suspended for five years, but the Board voted instead to revoke his license "due to the severity of the charges."
In an earlier interview with The Register-Herald, Kostenko said his practice focused on self-management and “pathologic adaptation,” which he describes as the “failure to heal (and the) loss of resistance to stressors.” Because of chronic health conditions, toxicants found in the environment, poor diets and stress, or “stressors,” the body cannot be its healthiest, he said.
The Board said that these medical practices have not been adopted or approved by the Board or any other state agency with jurisdiction over his practice. Kostenko’s attorney and daughter, Christina Kostenko, argued that his program is recommended throughout the country, and that it is approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
According to court documents filed Wednesday, Kostenko qualifies for court-appointed counsel based on his financial affidavit. Ward Morgan, a CJA panel attorney, is appointed to represent Kostenko on further matters.
Christina Kostenko offered the following statement to The Register-Herald on Wednesday: "My father and client was wrongfully arrested this morning by the FBI and the U.S. Marshals. There has been an ongoing, unjustified investigation over the last 10 years of my father without any avail by the prosecution due to the medical principles he practices by that expose industry and political corruption that has poisoned the people and communities of southern West Virginia."
She continued, "These are fraudulent and malicious charges against Dr. Kostenko. My father has represented the broken down coal miners who's workers' compensation benefits have been wrongfully denied, the broken down Vietnam veterans that are still to this day being taken advantage of, the broken down Talon workers in Wyoming County, along with everyone that has been abused as a worker in this state. He has represented and has continued to fight for them, and will never stop. These frivolous and malicious complaints will be dismissed. "
Kostenko was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. A federal arraignment hearing is set for Friday at 10:30 a.m. in Beckley.