Feeling No Pain

A pain clinic in nearby Vancouver, Washington, has been getting some press lately, and it’s not positive. The clinic has been accused of overprescribing pain medication and has been under investigation. The Payette Clinic opened in 2005 and is run by nurse practitioners (i.e., there are no medical doctors on staff). On March 19, 2009, the clinic’s records were seized in a raid by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and on March 23 the clinic informed its patients that it would no longer prescribe Class II opiates, such as oxycodone or morphine (many area pharmacies had stopped filling prescriptions from the Payette Clinic). On March 30 Washington State’s Department of Health filed charges against one of the nurse practitioners for improper prescribing.

The Department of Health had received dozens of complaints about the clinic since it opened. The clinic is said to treat patients suffering from chronic pain with high doses of addictive pain medications.

So what are your thoughts on this? Does the clinic seem legitimate? Is it providing a necessary service and serving a community ignored by other medical facilities?