enews 3-3-2016

Legislation targets rogue pain clinics
The House of Delegates passed HB 4537 yesterday which includes language to
close loopholes in the current law giving pain clinics room to skirt the intent of
legislation passed two years ago.
That law states a facility is a “pain clinic” if more than 50% of its patients are
prescribed or dispensed certain controlled substances.  Pain clinics are under
regulation by the Dept. of Health an Human Resources.  Some pain clinics are
reported to solicit people who are not prescribed or dispensed pain medications
to their facilities to increase their number of patients without pain medications to
evade the 50% threshold.
DHHR requested the legislation after spending the last two years trying to curb
the rogue pain clinics, according to news accounts.
HB 4537 defines “chronic pain” as “pain that has persisted after reasonable
medical efforts have been made to relieve the pain or cure its cause and
hat has continued, either continuously or episodically, for longer than
three continuous months.  For purposes of this article, chronic pain does
not include pain directly associated with a terminal condition.”
  
This revised definition of “chronic pain” deleted a provision in current law that
allowed treatment by a clinic for “a progressive disease that, in the normal course
or progression, may reasonably be expected to result in a terminal condition.”
This was a major loophole in the current law.
The proposed legislation also deletes current law that allows a pain clinic to be
affiliated with an accredited medical school at which training is provided for
medical or osteopathic students, residents or fellow, podiatrists, dentists,
physician assistants, veterinarians or any affiliated facility to the extent that is
participates in the provision of the instruction.
HB 4537 must now passed the Senate before it can become law.
(WVDA provides this information in response to inquiries by dentists regarding
pain clinics operating in their areas.)