Pain for Payette?

Some of you may remember when the Payette Clinic, a pain clinic in Vancouver, WA, was investigated and raided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in March 2009. Payette was owned and run by two nurse practitioners who, as a result of the investigation, had to give up their licenses to prescribe painkillers (Class II opiates).

Well, a new lawsuit has been filed against the Payette Clinic for wrongful death and medical malpractice. The four plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the estates of two former patients of the Payette Clinic (both patients died of overdoses) and two former patients who contend the clinic overprescribed pain medication. The lawsuit also indicates that five people died of overdoses prior to the death of one of the plaintiffs. Despite these prescription overdoses, the clinic continued to prescribe large amounts of opiates and did not implement any systems for checks or balances.

Numerous complaints were filed against the Payette Clinic while it was in operation, and eventually pharmacies refused to fill its prescriptions. Still, the clinic continued to prescribe opiates. More than a dozen cases against one of the nurse practitioners are still under investigation.

Though the doors to what was once known as the Payette Clinic are closed, the two co-owners, Kelly Bell and Scott Pecora, have set up shop under a new name:Walnut Grove Medical & Mental Health. Their tag line? “New name, same providers, same great care.” Some former patients might disagree with that statement.

For more on this story, see this article from the Oregonian.