- Associated Press - Monday, May 11, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Unsecured guns and medication errors were among the infractions found at Charleston pain clinic shut down by the state, a state inspection report shows.

The Charleston Gazette (https://bit.ly/1JBM4Bx) obtained the report through a Freedom of Information Act request. The newspaper says the report shows that Hope Clinic’s Charleston facility employed former police officers, who had no medical training, to issue prescriptions for pain pills, review patient charts and take patients’ blood pressure and weight.

Medication errors cited by the report included prescriptions given to the wrong patients and prescriptions with incorrect dosage information.

The former police officers used automated machines to print prescription slips for patients, many of whom never saw a doctor. The clinic’s patients included people who traveled from Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio to obtain pain pill prescriptions, according to the report.

“One of our biggest concerns was they did not have trained medical staff involved in the assessment of patients,” Jolynn Marra, who heads the state Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification, told the newspaper. “After reviewing what was going on at that clinic, we had a real concern for patient safety and welfare.”

The former officers routinely carried concealed weapons. One left a loaded .38-caliber handgun in a canvas bag in an unlocked office, according to the report.

“It’s a safety issue,” Marra said. “There are concerns when there are narcotics being prescribed and guns on site. The weapons weren’t secured.”

George Manahan, a spokesman for Hope Clinic, said the clinic already had decided to close the Charleston facility because of the resignation of a doctor who also had an ownership interest.

“Without conceding the validity of any of the deficiencies, Hope Clinic contends that OHFLAC’s citations could have been remedied in a relatively brief period of time,” Manahan told the newspaper. “However, because the Charleston clinic was already winding down its operations when the OHFLAC report was issued and ultimately closed at the end of February, Hope Clinic ultimately chose not to challenge OHFLAC’s report and facilitated the transition of patient care to other clinics and providers.”

Hope Clinic is challenging the state’s order to close another clinic in Beaver in Raleigh County.

“Hope Clinic is a pain management clinic that provides important, compassionate and necessary care to a segment of society that has essentially been abandoned by modern medicine: law-abiding chronic pain patients,” Manahan said.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette, https://www.wvgazette.com


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