Tonawanda News

News

August 21, 2012

Hospital offers aid for embattled doctor's patients

Tonawanda News — Patients of Dr. Matthew A. Bennett, the North Tonawanda doctor arrested earlier this month for allegedly handing out prescriptions illegally from his River Road office and Clarence home, now have another place to turn. 

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is working with primary care providers to ensure Bennett’s patients have timely access to health care services and is working with the landlord of the River Road facility to reopen Bennett’s office once the New York State Health Department finishes its review. 

But for now, patients are asked to schedule appointments at the Summit Family Health Center on Williams Road in Wheatfield. 

Joseph A. Ruffolo, the hospital’s president and CEO, said his organization has possession of Bennett’s medical records and is currently contacting his patients. 

“The sudden closing of a large primary care practice creates significant hardships for patients and for the community,” Ruffolo said. 

Bennett is free on a bond and appeared in U.S. District Court in Buffalo last week. He is facing a charge of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, which could carry a sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine if he is found guilty. 

Federal agents say Bennett provided a round of prescription drugs in exchange for items such as a gas grill as recently as late July. The doctor is currently unable to practice medicine until further legal proceedings ensue. 

Bennett is due to appear in federal court Friday for a preliminary hearing. He was charged on Aug. 10. 

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