Pain Management in the News
Concerns about chronic pain management and opioid prescribing and use continue to be a primary focus of healthcare. Here are a couple of recent noteworthy items. Practitioners in this area must be careful to comply with rules and regulations, as well as the prevailing standard of care.
Task Force in Western Virginia
The Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid task force has charged 53 medical professionals, including 31 doctors, for allegedly participating in illegal prescribing and distribution of opioids and other narcotics. The task force recently expanded to western Virginia which has long been thought to be a problem area. The task force says it will aim to strategically target offenders including doctors, pharmacists and nurse practitioners for prosecution.Federal agencies often analyze data to identify practitioners who might be outliers. A U.S. Attorney stated he hoped prosecutions would lead providers to reduce their prescribing, and thereby lower addiction and overdose. The Medical Society of Virginia reports that after creating prescribing regulations in 2016 there was a significant decrease in the prescribing of Opioids in Virginia.
Pain Management Practice Pays Millions for Unnecessary Tests
A Virginia-based pain management practice, Physical Medicine Associates LTD, will reportedly pay $3.29 million to settle allegations that it overcharged the federal government and billed for tests which were not medically necessary. The group had several offices throughout Virginia.
The case was brought by a former employee who claimed the group’s doctors and practice management company violated the False Claims Act, Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute. The plaintiff claimed the practice improperly billed services as “incident to,” submitted improper claims for urine drug tests and performed tests which were not medically necessary. The whistleblower will reportedly receive about $592,000 of the settlement.