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Chronic Pain Patients get discrimination even from regular primary care

Here’s my response to the article “Michigan Opioid Study Discusses Access to Primary Care Clinics for Patients with Chronic Pain” posted on July 14, 2019 by Ed Coghlan on the National Pain Report website.

The first thing clinics used to asked prospective new patients was “What’s your insurance?” Now it’s “Do you have chronic pain?” They do NOT want to see any patients with chronic pain even if they already have another provider prescribing pain medications. It’s outright discrimination especially if you are on Medicare or Medicaid. In Oregon where I practice, the locally contracted Umpqua Health Alliance took most of their chronic pain patients off opioid medications in the summer of 2013, long before the 2016 CDC Guidelines came out. Why? Because it was all about the money! Too much was being spent on pain and associated treatments. After a few years state officials realized that there were big savings to be made. So now they are trying to deny all chronic pain patients their medications and forcefully tapering them off. The CDC Guidelines were meant for PCPs, yet even pain specialists are forcefully tapering patients off. Some are receiving threatening letters from insurance companies and such. Providers are refusing to treat chronic pain patients due the risks of DEA raids, medical board investigations, and more. I personally have been investigated by the Oregon Medical Board due to claims of “over-prescribing” by gutless malcontents in the area of Roseburg, Oregon. They complained about five of my patients, some of whom were below the 90 MED recommendations of the CDC Guidelines. After nine months of investigation the medical board found nothing wrong with my care, even with patients well over the 90 MED level. Unlike other providers, I actually review medical and pharmacy records for the past two years, search the PDMP before every visit, do a criminal background check, use extensive questionnaires before I even prescribe for a patient. I actually do a physical examination that many other providers lie about doing. For them it’s ALL about the MONEY; I don’t put money ABOVE the care of my patients, that’s why I’m still in student loan debt.

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