Owner plans to reopen Catoosa clinic

Owner plans to reopen Catoosa clinic

March 4th, 2011 by Joy Lukachick Smith in News

Although its doctor was charged with writing illegal prescriptions, a Catoosa County weight-loss clinic plans to reopen once the owner finds another doctor, she said.

"I had no knowledge of any of that going on," owner Michelle Turitto said Thursday. "If I had seen anything that was suspicious, I would have turned him in."

Local and federal police on Tuesday raided Doctor's Health Center on Cloud Springs Road, arresting Dr. Norman Neal and charging him with writing at least 29 illegal prescriptions for hydrocodone and Xanax.

After Neal was arrested, police shut the clinic until the investigation was complete, said Larry Black, commander of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force.

But the investigation targeted the doctor and not the business, Black said. Police don't have reason to believe anyone else was involved, he said.

The clinic is within the city limits of Fort Oglethorpe, but City Manager Ron Goulart said officials haven't received any information from police to suggest they should try to pull the clinic's business license.

"If we felt like it was a threat to society, we could probably intervene and do something," he said. "But we wouldn't do that based on those allegations."

Neal originally was given a $150,000 bond, but when police later charged him with unlawfully possessing controlled substances, which is a felony, a Catoosa County magistrate revoked his bond, authorities said.

Bond for felony charges must be issued by a Superior Court judge.

The drug task force, along with the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office, began to investigate the clinic after it received complaints from family members and business owners about a high volume of traffic in the parking lot there, police said.

But Turitto, who works at the clinic she owns, said she didn't notice any suspicious activity in the parking lot.

She said she plans to reopen once she finds another licensed doctor to run the business.