- Associated Press - Monday, May 25, 2015

BEAVER, W.Va. (AP) - Practices at a pain management clinic closed by the state put patient health and safety at risk, a state report said.

Hope Clinic’s facility in Beaver lacked professional medical staff. Untrained and unlicensed non-medical staff called “narcotics auditors” made clinical evaluations, took patients’ blood pressure, ordered drug tests and prepared prescriptions for a physician to sign. A janitor served as the official lab technician and a receptionist also worked as an infection control specialist, said the report by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification.

The Register-Herald (https://bit.ly/1HFxZpz) obtained the report through the Freedom of Information Act.

Staff at the clinic could not prove that they had one year of training in pain management, as required by state law, the report said.

Six clinic employees also were patients, including a physician who had been charged with undisclosed crimes by state police. None of the workers appeared on a master list of the clinic’s 1,283 patients, and none of their medical records at the clinic was complete, the report said.

State examiners also found patient records that did not support diagnosis or justify treatment.

The state ordered the clinic to close by May 15 after it failed inspections. Hope Clinic is challenging the closure order.

“HOPE Clinic has been thrust to the forefront of the news recently because of a series of actions by state and federal agencies,” George Manahan, a spokesman for Hope Clinic, said in a statement issued earlier this month after the state denied a license for the Beaver facility. “Unfortunately, these actions have the potential to create a perception about HOPE Clinic that does not accurately reflect its core values or operations.

“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.”

The DHHR ordered another Hope Clinic pain management facility in Charleston to close in February because of similar infractions. Manahan has said Hope Clinic already had decided to close the Charleston facility because of the resignation of a doctor who also had an ownership interest.

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Information from: The Register-Herald, https://www.register-herald.com

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