SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

July 29, 2011

Doc falls in “pain-clinic” crack-down

Doctor’s license suspended

He is accused of trying to circumvent new ‘pill-mill’ law

By Misti Crane THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

A Columbus doctor accused of breaking the law and shirking his ethical obligations at a pain-management practice on the Far West Side can no longer see patients pending a hearing by the State Medical Board.

The board suspended Dr. Daniel H. Brumfield’s license based on allegations that he was trying to circumvent a new state law aimed at shutting down so-called pill mills and inappropriately prescribing a drug used to wean addicts off heroin and other opiates.    Starting last month, Brumfield began trying to reshape the practice at Ohio Medical West, 108 N. Murray Hill Rd., so that no more than half the patients would be seen for pain management, according to the board’s notice.

Brumfield told the Medical Board staff that his office has been telling pain patients they won’t be treated or receive prescriptions unless they bring someone else to the appointment to “serve as a non-pain referral patient” on the same day of service.    “You have further indicated that the existing pain patient must do this at every visit, that it does not matter who they bring as long as it is for non-pain treatment,” the board’s notice says.

Practices with a majority of patients on pain medications are subject to new regulations under Ohio’s pill-mill law.    “I think it’s a bogus charge,” Brumfield said yesterday, declining further comment.    Brumfield is scheduled for a hearing next week, said his attorney, Beth Collis.  She said she was not yet prepared to respond to the board’s specific allegations.    Nobody responded yesterday to a message left at the practice. The owner, Lester Sadler, was indicted last year on federal charges involving a fraudulent pain clinic in Waverly. His wife, Nancy, also was indicted. The Sadlers live in Scioto County.    “No patients will be seen until there’s a physician there to see them,” said Dublin attorney Steven Hillman, who incorporated the Columbus business on Mr. Sadler’s behalf.

Dr. William Cullen, who previously practiced at Ohio Medical West and is on probation with the Medical Board for prescription-drug abuse, no longer works there, Hillman said.    Brumfield, who is 56 and lives in the Dayton area, posed a risk of “serious harm to the public” should he continue to practice, according to the board notice.    It also says he prescribed the drug Subutex for opioid dependence despite not being authorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Brumfield has a history with the Medical Board because of past cocaine use. Before the suspension, he was practicing on probationary terms.

mcrane@dispatch.com

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