To All Concerned Citizens,
I’m writing this letter to inform Tennessee citizens about a beautiful state endorsed and mandated scam called “The Pain Clinic”.
First the set-up. My wife (who will be appalled when I tell you that she is 51 years old) suffers from a debilitating back disease. She has had major surgery which was completely ineffective, and in many ways has made her situation worse. She is in constant pain. Due to recent changes in the law, my wife is now forced by the state to go to a Pain Clinic to seek relief. She used to go to a family physician in which a
3 month course of treatment used to cost her $80.00. This is a combination of co-pays to her doctor and to the insurance company’s mail order pharmacy. The cost to our insurance company was on average $350.00. Now, thanks to the wisdom of this state’s lawmakers, she is forced to see a “specialist” to deal with her pain issues. Since specialists cost more, her out of pocket expenses for 3 months have soared to $270.00 while the insurance company has paid $4100.00.
Here’s how it works. Even though my wife doesn’t use illegal drugs and has no criminal record, not even a driving ticket, she has to undergo a drug screen and urinalysis every 2 months. And even though while my wife worked for numerous government and military contractors and has passed nearly every criminal background check known to man, she is still treated like she is “Jimmy the Junkie”. She was forced to sign a contract wherein she has to agree to random drug screens. That she can be made to arrive at the pain clinic within 48 hours’ notice, so the “specialist” can count her pills to make sure she is not selling her drugs. And she has to accept whatever treatment that the clinic decrees whether she agrees to their methods or not. For example, on her first visit, she was issued a back brace. The back brace cost her $146.00. It cost her insurance company $918.00 even though it is little more sophisticated than something one can purchase at Walmart for around 40 bucks. Oh and $522.00 paid to the insurance and $67.00 out of pocket, which were expenses not discussed prior to receiving the brace were for “training on how to put it on”. “Training” was performed by a receptionist who told my wife that this is how Velcro works. It lasted 3 minutes. After trying to wear this miracle device for 3 days her pain was much worse so she contacted her neurologist/surgeon who said “I would never put a person in your condition in a brace. It does no good. Stop wearing it.” We tried to return the device to the clinic but were informed that medical devices, no matter how worthless could not be returned, so we and our insurer were stuck with the bill. The Pain Clinic however made out very well.
It should also be mentioned that even though she has been 5 times to meet this specialist she has yet to meet with an actual physician. She has however been treated by 4 different nurse practitioners. When she goes to her other specialists she sees the doctor and not someone who can only prescribe what is considered procedure and not deal with the patient in front of them.
One last observation, when I take my wife to see her nurse practitioner specialist the place is packed. And not with young people (who this law was designed to protect) it is all old folks. In fact, my wife at 51 is probably the youngest patient in the waiting room.
Look. I am not naïve. I know that there is a drug problem in this country, but let’s be realistic. Some people are smart. Some people are stupid. Sometimes stupid people die. This law does nothing to reduce ignorance. In fact all it does is place an enormous financial burden on the people who can afford it the least, while at the same time making the owners of these so called pain Management facilities quite rich. It has also caused an increase in home break-ins and the use of heroin in our state, because even though heroin is quite dangerous it is still an opioid. And as an opioid, Heroin is an effective pain killer that is much more affordable than having your pain managed by these overpriced so called specialists.
In closing, please if you are in the same situation and I know a lot of you are, contact your lawmakers. Make your dissatisfaction known.
And if you are worried about your kids or grandkids raiding your medicine chest, do what my father did when my little brother and I secretly sipped his good scotch when we were teenagers, he put a lock on the liquor cabinet.
You can call me Al.