Physicians are aware of the opioid epidemic. In fact, most do all that they can to mitigate against it. They check their charts, only refill a prescription when a pain patient is eligible, and may even try to transition their patients to other types of medications with a lower rate of addiction. Unfortunately, the issue is still growing.
In fact, an analysis from Blue Cross Blue Shield has found that the opioid addiction among Americans has grown 493 percent since 2010, which is probably why the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) agency stepped up their monitoring efforts back in 2015. Sadly, those efforts have harmed many diligent and hard-working physicians. Learn what the opioid epidemic may mean for your pain management practice, and how you can protect your medical license from adverse action during the opioid crackdown.
Opioid Crackdown Started with Good Intentions
The goal of the opioid crackdown was not to punish diligent doctors. Instead, HHS had three very specific goals in mind: to inform and educate physicians on opioid alternatives and proper prescribing guidelines, increase the use of naloxone to save more lives of individuals who overdosed on opioids, and to expand programs that helped with substance abuse issues. What they did not realize is that, by default, many physicians would be caught in the crosshairs.
Yes, there are legitimate “pill mills” out there that contribute to the opioid addiction, but to find these places, agencies like HHS, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and Texas Medical Board (TMB) must search for and investigate potential offenders – and, as one might expect, pain management clinics are at the top of that list.
When a Fishing Expedition Leads to Adverse Action
Pain management clinics and the doctors that run them do not have to have a problem with prescribing opioids to experience adverse action. Instead, agencies may walk in and request access to patient charts to check for issues. They might examine your brochures. They could even speak to your staff or simply sit there and quietly observe your practice to find a reason to investigate your practice further. Should they find any form of validation, your medical license and practice could be placed at risk for disciplinary licensing actions.
To mitigate against this issue, it is recommended that you immediately contact an experienced attorney upon learning of an investigation or complaint against your practice. Doing so can reduce the risk of adverse actions against you and your practice. An attorney can also help to mitigate against any issues that do exist – particularly those that may appear incriminating but are more a symptom of your hectic schedule, staff shortages, or other administrative issues.
Contact Our Texas Medical License Defense Attorney
With almost 30 years of experience in the medical-legal arena, Oscar San Miguel, Attorney at Law has the knowledge and skills necessary for your case. Committed to protecting your medical license, our Texas medical license defense lawyer can take swift and immediate action in an impending or active investigation or disciplinary case. Learn more about how we can assist you by scheduling a free and personalized consultation. Call 512-228-7946 today.