NC: 7000+ chronic pain pts “kicked to the curb” with little/no warning or transition ?

Pain clinic closing, changes leave thousands scrambling for care, medicine

https://www.journalnow.com/business/business_news/local/pain-clinic-closing-changes-leave-thousands-scrambling-for-care-medicine/article_7a2944f0-d767-5569-b7ec-a214b8490fe2.html

A race against time has started for James and Judy Keene of Westfield.

The couple is searching for a new pain treatment clinic with less than a month’s supply of pain relievers in hand for James Keene.

News surfaced July 2 that Comprehensive Pain Specialists, based in Brentwood, Tenn., had closed its Elkin clinic as part of beginning the process of ceasing operations in its 12-state territory. It appears the clinic at 500 Pineview Drive in Kernersville also has been shut down.

The CPS clinic at 160 Kimel Forest Drive in Winston-Salem is reported to be closing July 18. CPS officials have not returned request for comment on its plans.

James Keene has received treatment and prescription medicine for chronic back and leg pain for more than two decades, including recently at the Elkin clinic. He had had three back surgeries during that time.

“We are hopeful we can find someone to write his prescriptions so he doesn’t go through withdrawal,” Judy Keene said Friday.

They likely are not alone in their desperation.

There could be more than 7,000 North Carolina patients receiving chronic pain, opioid and other addiction treatments affected by the news that CPS is either closing or divesting its 60 clinics.

Judy Keene said the couple was given three days’ notice that the Elkin clinic at 505 Samaritans Ridge Court was closing June 21, and that her husband’s account had been transferred an hour away to the Winston-Salem clinic.

Before the Keenes left to go for the June 21 appointment in Winston-Salem, they were notified it had been cancelled. Judy Keene said they were told the clinic was being prepared for closing and would not accept new patients.

Former local employees told the Winston-Salem Journal on July 3 that the local office had been acquired July 2 by Bethany Medical Center of High Point.

Bethany officials have not responded when asked about the potential acquisition, but media reports say Bethany will take over July 19.

Officials at the Winston-Salem clinic faxed a prescription for James Keene’s medications to his pharmacy so he would have enough to last through the end of July, Judy Keene said.

CPS did not tell them on June 21 of pain-treatment clinics willing to take new patients. They learned a list existed from another patient trying to get care from the clinic.

“We were then told they had about five clinics that agreed to take care of the patients,” Judy Keene said. “We drove an hour to Winston-Salem to get the list and we started applying.

“Only Carolina Pain Institute has returned our call. They told us they would have to get my husband’s records and they would decide if they would take him in 10 days or so.”

Judy Keene said she has contacted providers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Novant Health Spine Specialists and Preferred Pain Management that were on the CPS list.

“So far, no response,” she said.

Continuity of care

Novant did not say whether its spine specialists clinics in Bermuda Run and Winston-Salem were taking new patients. It said individuals can find an affiliated pain management provider and request an appointment by going to https://www.novanthealth.org/home/patients–visitors/our-doctors/find-a-doctor.aspx?specialty.

“Continuity of care is a priority for all patients, especially patients managing chronic illnesses and/or chronic pain,” said Dr. Jeffery Peacock, pain specialist at Novant Health Spine Specialists in Winston-Salem

“Novant Health utilizes a multi-modal approach to pain management through the integration of interventional procedures, medication management, physical therapy and restorative health services.”

Dr. Robert Hurley, professor of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist, said the system’s pain specialist clinics are prepared to serve CPS patients in Davidson, Davie, Forsyth and Guilford counties.

“Our pain services have expanded substantially in the last 12 months to include new clinical sites and six new faculty pain physicians,” Hurley said.

Marlon Hunter, health director of Forsyth County, said the health department “does not provide pain management clinic services.”

Keene said she’s concerned that “there’s no way the remaining Triad pain-maintenance clinics can handle these people.”

“I have no idea how many patients CPS has thrown to the wolves in the Triad area. It was bad enough that due to the opioid crisis those that do not abuse their narcotics have had their doses reduced by over a half by CPS.

“I fear many of CPS’ former patients are going to go through withdrawal through no fault of their own.”

Concerns

There has been speculation about clinics closing since April 10, when John Davis, the company’s former chief executive, was indicted by the U.S. Attorney Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.

The indictment charged Davis with participating in a $4.6 million Medicare kickback scheme involving medical equipment.

Davis was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive health care kickbacks, and seven counts of paying and receiving health care kickbacks. Facing the same charges is Brenda Montgomery, of Camden, Tenn., owner, founder and chief executive of CCC Medical.

The Tennessean reported the company has about 250 medical professionals, according to federal court documents.

Michelle Crouch posted Thursday on CPS’ Winston-Salem Facebook page that the clinics are closing “without warning to patients with appointments.”

“It should be illegal to be this unprofessional to the patients who are in this kind of pain and need their medications. It’s not like primary care doctors will help much or at all for these patients.

“And it takes months to be seen by another pain doctor.”

Crouch shares Judy Keene’s concerns that as patients run out of medicine, they will fall “in a horrible tailspin of pain, withdrawals, anxiety, depression, increased blood pressure due to pain and stress, and they don’t know when/if it will end.”

“Who’s to say another doctor won’t dump us the same again.

“I’m disgusted and so disappointed by CPS and the choices of those who were called our caretakers.”

4 Responses

  1. wtf IS WRONG WITH tENNESSEE AND w.vIRGINIA?OR ANY OTHER STATE?IS THERE NO AVENUES FOR JUSTICE AT ALL?SOMEONE SOMEHOW NEEDS TO START REVOLTING AGAINST THIS DISCRIMINATION/MALPRACTICE!!I WILL BE THERE TO SIGN UP,CALL.OR WHATEVER!!!DAMN THEM TO HELL!!!

  2. WE have to be the ones that say enough is enough. This is our modern day Spanish Inquisition and has become unbridled lunacy. This ‘War on Opioids” is leaving Chronic Pain Paitents without necessary medication for a quality of life. We must have faith that we can bring about a positiive change.

    **How we choose to manage our Chronic Pain should be our choice.
    **There is no room for the government in a responsible doctor/patient relationship.
    **Suicide is not Pain Management.

  3. You can go to govtrack.us There you can find your representatives, senators and legislation. You can use your cell’s location to find your state’s representatives and senators along with their contact information. In the “legislation” line you can select by subject. Scroll till you see health. Select it and you can read all the various healthcare laws that can affect chronic pain management, opioid management and how Medicaid and Medicare recipients could/will be affected. Also, you can visit change.org

    **How we choose to manage our Chronic Pain should be our choice.
    **There is no room for the government in a responsible doctor/patient relationship.
    **Suicide is not Pain Management.

  4. I sure hope the people being quoted in this article read the comments, because I could spit nails right now. How DARE you blame the clinic or the doctors for this!!! It’s NOT their fault. It is the fault of the out-of-control DOJ targeting doctors and clinics for money. If all you do is look for another physician to prescribe, you won’t have any soon enough. Shame on you!!! Learn the truth on http://www.doctorsofcourage.org and join the fight instead of blaming the innocent victims.

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