Tennessee-Based Pain Management Group To Close Clinics Amid Financial Turmoil

This story additionally ran on Bloomberg. This story could be republished without spending a dime (details).

One of the largest ache administration teams within the Southeast is closing a number of clinics amid worsening monetary troubles and a federal felony investigation that focused its former chief govt.

This week, Tennessee-based Comprehensive Pain Specialists suggested sufferers and workers about clinic closures, leaving sufferers scrambling to seek out new medical doctors keen to prescribe them opioids, in keeping with a report on WSMV tv.

Based within the Nashville space, CPS opened in 2005 and shortly grew right into a powerhouse, which has handled as many as 48,000 ache sufferers a month, at greater than 50 clinics in Tennessee and different states.

CPS didn’t reply to quite a few requests for remark.

The doctor-owned firm has endured a collection of latest setbacks, together with earlier clinic closures, pending lawsuits over alleged money owed and the felony case towards former CEO John Davis.

In April, a federal grand jury in Tennessee indicted Davis on felony kickback prices. He has pleaded not responsible. CPS additionally has confronted almost a dozen civil lawsuits from contractors alleging unpaid money owed, together with fits introduced by two of its former medical doctors. A Justice Department official stated the closure was not associated to the felony case towards Davis.

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The shutdown of the clinics comes amid rising backlash towards using opioids for treating continual ache. The opioid disaster has price the U.S. financial system greater than $1 trillion since 2001, estimates Altarum, an financial analysis agency. Since 1999, no less than 200,000 folks have died nationwide from overdoses, in keeping with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the corporate’s web site, CPS now operates 40 clinics in eight states: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. Half are in Tennessee. The Tennessean reported Tuesday that each one 21 clinics within the state could be closing by the tip of the month.

CPS was the topic of a November 2017 investigation by Kaiser Health News that scrutinized its Medicare billings for urine drug testing. Medicare paid the corporate no less than $11 million for urine screenings and associated assessments in 2014, when 5 of CPS’ medical professionals stood among the many nation’s high such Medicare billers. One nurse practitioner at a CPS clinic in Cleveland, Tenn., generated $1.1 million in urine-test billing that yr, in keeping with Medicare data analyzed by KHN.

(Courtesy of Comprehensive Pain Specialists)

Peter Kroll, an anesthesiologist and considered one of CPS’ founders, stated on the time that the assessments have been justified to watch sufferers towards dangers of dependancy or cut back probabilities the tablets could be offered on the black market. Kroll, who’s the corporate’s present CEO and medical director, billed Medicare $1.Eight million for urine assessments in 2015, company data confirmed.

Kroll took cost of the enterprise when Davis left the corporate abruptly final summer season. He couldn’t be reached for remark Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors charged Davis with accepting greater than $750,000 in unlawful bribes and kickbacks in a scheme that billed Medicare $four.6 million for sturdy medical tools.

“As CEO, Davis oversaw the substantial expansion of CPS, recruiting new physicians and clinics to join CPS, as well as directing various aspects of the company’s overall treatment of patients,” prosecutors wrote in a May court docket submitting.

Davis has pleaded not responsible. The U.S. legal professional’s workplace has stated in court docket filings that CPS and its workers are “victims” within the case.

The firm additionally has been hit with civil fits. Anesthesiologist Donald E. Jones sued the corporate in May 2017, alleging that it did not honor his employment contracts.

Jones stated he joined the agency in 2012 to workers three Tennessee clinics at a wage of $30,000 a month plus a share of charges from laboratory and different companies. Jones argued that he generated collections in extra of $9 million. In 2016, the clinics served 41,364 sufferers, the busiest of all of the clinics, in keeping with the swimsuit.

But in April 2016, in keeping with the swimsuit, CPS give up paying him and in February 2017 the corporate started transferring his sufferers to different clinics and “making disparaging remarks” about him to sufferers.

CPS countered that Jones did not ship “safe and effective medical care, which CPS in court filings attributed to an “ongoing compensation dispute.” The swimsuit is pending.

(Courtesy of Comprehensive Pain Specialists)

Pain specialist William Wagner is also suing the corporate. He stated he relocated from New Mexico to open a CPS clinic in Anderson, S.C., lured by the promise of $30,000 a month in wage and a share of the earnings from urine assessments and different companies.

Instead, in keeping with Wagner, CPS failed to gather payments for companies he rendered after which closed the clinic. CPS denies Wagner’s claims and says it fulfilled its obligations underneath the contract. In a counterclaim, CPS argues that Wagner owes it $190,000. The case is pending.

Several contractors, together with firms that leased workplace area and medical software program, even have taken CPS to court docket alleging unpaid payments and leases, in keeping with court docket filings. The instances are pending.

Kroll instructed KHN final yr that he and fellow anesthesiologist Steve Dickerson got here up with the concept for CPS in August 2005, over a cup of espresso at a Nashville Starbucks. At the time, Tennessee was confronting an rising opioid epidemic.

Kroll, raised in North Carolina, had moved to Nashville to launch a profession in anesthesiology, a specialty he selected after watching his older brother die from an agonizing illness with little assist from ache specialists.

Joined by two different medical doctors, Kroll and Dickerson opened with a single storefront in suburban Hendersonville. Dickerson, who was elected to the Tennessee Senate in 2012, stays at CPS, in keeping with its web site. Calls to Dickerson’s workplace weren’t returned.

This story additionally ran on Bloomberg. This story could be republished without spending a dime (details).

KHN’s protection associated to growing older and bettering care of older adults is supported partly by The John A. Hartford Foundation.

Fred Schulte:”>, @fredschulte

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