I was with a PM clinc and I was also getting narcotics from other doctors, including my ortho. The PM clinic would not give me enough pills/high enough does to releive my pain no matter what I said, so I "shopped." Now I got busted and the PM clinic called and siad that they have a record of all my prescriotions from multiple doctors and the PM clinic will no longer see me. I will not need them to prescribe for me anymore because I am having surgery soon for a new knee and my ortho (hopefully) will be the only person prescribing. The hope is that the new knee will releive my need for long term pain management. Okay, now my questions:
How does the PM doctor have access to all my scripts and pharmacy records (I used 2-3)? My insurance co?
Second, will they give this information to my other providers? Can they?
Third, if my ortho finds out that I have been getting multiple scripts, will he give me adequate pain releif after surgery? It is MAJOR and I will need alot of pain meds to get through rehab.
Last, should I just tell this to my surgeon (ortho) and all the people involved in my total knee replacement and just see what happens? I am thinking just being honest might help.
I'm so very sorry to hear that you did this. I would IMMEDIATELY get hold of your Ortho and see him and tell him truthfully what you have done. I'd do that with EVERY doctor involved. How many Doctors were there and for how long were you doing this? Also, which Pharmacies were involved. If you used your insurance each time, I'd bet that the Insurance is the one that discovered it and contacted your Doctor.
How long ago were you contacted by your PM Clinic? Today, a week ago, a month ago?
All of this could have a bearing on what your PM Clinic will do.
I think your biggest concern with your Ortho is whether he will allow you to stay as a patient. There's always the chance that HE might release you also.
Also, YES the PM Clinic most certainly can and possibly already has contacted the other Dr's. involved. It's also very probable that your Insurance Co. has already contacted EVERYONE involved. That is why you need to move fast and let the Dr's. that you care about know what happened and WHY you felt it necessary to do this.
All you can do is see if you can do any damage control. It doesn't look to promising. I just hope that you have a REALLY good relationship with your OTHER Dr's. or they probably won't work with you again or if they do they will probably REFUSE to give you ANY medications for pain.
As you know now, you should ALWAYS BE HONEST WITH YOUR DOCTORS!!!! If you are able to get another PM Clinic you MUST be open and honest with them.
I hope you will give us a little more info and maybe we can help you a little more if we know more about the type of medication and length of time and quantities involved.
Looking forward to hearing from you and hopefully you can salvage this in someway with some of your Dr.s.
As you can see by the above responses, you may be in a lot more trouble than you think. I am sorry that you felt forced into doctor shopping. Indeed it is a felony and ppl spend time in jail or prison for doing just what you have done.
When we have severe pain we often do not consider the consequences of our actions. We just want pain releif. Unfortunately law enforcement does not normally look at it through our eyes.
This will in all probability go on your permanent medical records and red flag you. Any physician will have access to this information and be cautious in prescribing IF he/she will prescribe any thing at all.
Sherry is correct. You need to move now. Contact your orthopedic surgeon and let me know what has happened. You're correct, honestly is always the best policy. Plead you case. Hopefully your surgeon will understand your actions and at least treat you through this surgery. Immediately following surgery or post-op there should be no questions, you should receive adequate pain medication to get you through and immediately following surgery. However how long the surgeon will provide you with narcotics after discharge remains to be seen.
I know of no way you can undo what you have done. You may want to write a letter to your PMP explaining your reasons. You can request that your letter of explanation is placed into your medical record. Your records would than at least contain that letter for anyone to review that may be requesting medical records.
I also suspect that your insurance company discovered your actions and contacted all the physicians and pharmacies that you have seen. Many states have a data base of all narcotic prescriptions that are written and filled everywhere in the state. There are "watchdogs" in place in these systems that are programed to kick out suspicious activity. Your state may have such a program.
I encourage you to be honest with any physician you see in the future. You will not be able to hide what you have done. However with honesty and an explanation some physicians may give you a second chance. Understand that DEA may have tied all of their hands and forbid them from prescribing narcotics to you again.
You may want to seek some legal advice at this point. I have no idea what if any action will be taken against you now or in the future. I wish you the very best and hope that you will be able to overcome the choices you made in the past.
Please let us know how this turns out for you. I will look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Again, good luck.
As all the others have said, the pain is now not as crucial as possible legal action that might be taken against you. I understand how frustrating it is to not get the pain meds you feel are needed, as my neuro won't give me a script for anything stronger than tramadol. What you've done is water under the bridge (hopefully) and I hope that you learn to bow to your doc's expertise, regardless of how frustrating/painful it is.
Please be very honest with your ortho. Explain everything, and hope for the best.
I am not sure if I am posting this correctly but I wanted to update the forum on what has happened with regard to my situation.
There were 4 Dr's and the way that it looks on the report (I asked them to send it to me) is that I was getting meds (the same kind/type) from 2 Dr's for the same condition.
The 3rd Dr. prescribed another narc for an outpatient procedure he did and my PM was notified on that one.
The 4th was my dentist and he gave me 4 vics after he did some work. I also notified the PM about that one. The one's they were bitching about was my ortho and my primary care docs. They were prescribing for the same condition. All this occurred over a 4 months.
I have spoken with a prosecuting attorney(I work in the legal/criminal justice field) who is a close freind of mine. He said that if I come clean with my docs the cops won't be bothered with it. He says he rarely see's cases like this unless they have a a case where the scripts were forged or fraudulent (and they were not).
So, I took the list and went to my ortho on Friday (scared as hell!!!) and he was extremely understanding. I suppose the fact that the narcs prescribed were not heavy duty (biggest one was oxy 10mg ER) made a difference. He said that he will be checking my script record now and throughout my knee replacement process to make sure he, and only he, is giving me prescriptions. The best part was he asked me, honestly, what do I need for pain now. I told him and he gave me close to what I asked for. He told me to wait longer between dosings to lower my tolerance before surgery. He said that he would make sure that I get proper pain releif before during and post surgery. I really can't beleive how understanding he was.
He wrote me a letter to send to the other Dr's and asked that it be made part of my medical file. He also sent a copy to my insurance company.
Thank you everyone for your advice. I was too scared last week to do this. My ortho said people do this frequently becasue there is so much "hysteria" surrounding the prescribing of pain medication.
Anyway, I encourage everyone to be completely honest with your Dr. I got busted and I am glad. It could have gotten worse.
I'm VERY relieved that you were able to straighten this out with your Ortho!! I have had 2 artificial hip implants, same hip, and I know how much you are in pain right now for you to be having this surgery. They don't perform this surgery lightly as you know.
Thank you so much for updating us on your situation as I couldn't stop worrying about you the past few days.
I'm so thankful that you went to your Ortho and also contacted your friend so that you can "breathe a sigh of relief" as that is one thing off of your plate. Your Ortho went above and beyond the line of duty for you in writing the letters for you. You picked a wonderful surgeon and I know you are in excellent hands.
Please continue to keep us posted throughout your journey and I hope you will become an active member on here as you have much to contribute to this forum.
Please let us know when your surgery is scheduled so we can be thinking about you.
I am very glad that your situation worked out for you well.
But I feel I must explain to everyone that doctor shopping is very rampant and the prosecutors here in Florida and many other states are going after people doing this and they are prosecuting them severely.
This is a felony and do not think you will not be help accountable if your caught doing this as it is against the law in the USA.
Many people do this to obtain drugs to sell on the street and every law enforcement agency is after those who are diverting these medications as it has become a real problem.
As I said I am so glad you worked things out but beware in the future.
Thank you so much for all your positive feedback. Just FYI, what I did not was NOT illegal, at least not in Missouri. See RSMo 195.204.
As long as you have a legitimate identifiable medical problem, there is no fraud and thus no illegality. If give away any medication that you get from any doctor, that is illegal. An obviously, it is illegal to sell them. "Dr. Shopping" in and of itself, is not illegal, depending on the circumstances and the state you live in. Keep in mind, I got this information from an extremely reliable source who showed me the law. I am not a lawyer and am not encourging this behavior. It can be used against you in so many other ways.
I am not trying to debate the issue here nor am I trying to be anything but helpful.
But I assure you that when you knowingly obtain the same narcotic( or narcotics) from more than one doctor without informing each doctor you are breaking not only state law but federal law. The DEA has laws that specifically cover this as well as state laws.
Whom ever your getting information from that is telling you that this is not illegal is terribly wrong and I would hate to see you get in any trouble because of any mis-information.
I will post the exact laws covering this for you tomorrow, I am not feeling well this evening.
Doctor shopping or Felony of Obtaining drugs under False Pretenses
Missouri: ž 195.204. Fraudulently attempting to obtain a controlled substance, penalty. 1. A person commits the offense of fraudulently attempting to obtain a controlled substance if he obtainsor attempts to obtain a controlled substance or procures or attempts to procure the administration of thecontrolled substance by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge; or by the forgery or alteration of aprescription or of any written order; or by the concealment of a material fact; or by the use of a false nameor the giving of a false address. The crime of fraudulently attempting to obtain a controlled substanceshall include, but shall not be limited to nor be limited by, the following: (...)3. Information communicated to a physician in an effort unlawfully to procure a controlled substance orunlawfully to procure the administration of any such drug shall not be deemed a privilegedcommunication; provided, however, that no physician or surgeon shall be competent to testify concerningany information which he may have acquired from any patient while attending him in a professionalcharacter and which information was necessary to enable him to prescribe for such patient as aphysician, or to perform any act for him as a surgeon.
Also the Federal Govt keeps a national registry for narcotic prescriptions. Every time you get a narcotic filled it gets entered in the registry. It doesn't matter if you go to a different pharmacy every time and pay with cash, they know about it. Also, even if you go to a pharmacy and pay cash, your insurance company stills know that you a got a prescription for narcotics because they get your medical records so they can bill the appropriate people.
You will also have your name sent to the DEA and it will be put in their database which is reported to all docs and pharmacies. What this results in, is what is termed "Red Flagging.
First let me say thank you so much for the updates. And second that I am so very happy that your ortho was so understanding and that he is writing letters on your behalf. It appears to be a very good ending to what could have been a serious tragedy. I am breathing a sigh of relief for you.
I do not know the laws in detail. I just recall the ppl that were charged and convicted for Doctor Shopping. No one did much more, some did less than what you did. The one that comes to mind first is Russ Limbaugh. In 2003, Limbaugh claimed his addiction to painkillers came as a result of long-term back pain he had been suffering for several years. (By the way I do not agree with his political views. I am not a fan.)
He claimed to have real chronic pain. He didn't go from doctor to doctor lying. He did not divert his medication. He told them all the truth, that he had chronic pain and it was not being controlled. He saw his PCP, two or three specialists and that was about it. He was being prescribed mostly Vicodin.
The DEA and federal prosecutors (and public) tore him apart for his actions. Initially the press said he had obtained 2,000 pills in a four month period. This was later proved false. When all the dust settled and the real story came out it was quite different from what was initially reported and still remains in the internet. He was charged with doctor shopping. His physicians or pharmacy did not turn him in, it was a federal law enforced by the DEA. This is only one example of the Federal Doctor Shopping Law, there are many more.
The above is more lengthy than I had planned. I have shortened it up as best I could but didn't want to lose all the details. Doctor Shopping is a federal crime. I do not know about individual states but I do know that the federal law supersedes the state laws in most instances.
It amazes me that some ppl openly divert their prescription narcotics and never seem to be caught let alone prosecuted. Than there are true chronic pain patients that are prosecuted for unwise decisions in an attempt to legitimately control their CP. I'll shut up for now. Guess I ranted a bit. Sorry :)
I also wanted to point out that when paitents do doctor shop they affect every single chronic pain patient by their actions. This is one of the many reasons why it is so difficult for legitimate paitents to find suitable pain management.
When a doctor has just one patient that does this it effects all of his paitents as the doctor will become leery of prescribing the pain medications needed to those paitents who really need it.
Doctor shopping does not affect just the person committing the felony but ALL chronic pain paitents.
I am not trying to upset anyone here I just want to point out that this kind of illegal activity does not effect just the person committing the crime.
I do realize that some legitimate pain paitents do this because they can't find a doctor willing to treat their pain sufficiently. But there are doctors that will treat pain properly and it is best to keep looking for one that will treat your pain adaquatly instead of doctor shopping and possibly losing any kind of pain management in the future.
When caught and you will be eventually you will lose your freedom and will not receive any type of pain management in jail or prison. You will also be "red flagged" and this will keep you from obtaining certain types of medications and you will find it very difficult to find a doctor even willing to treat your pin at that point.
I do not intend to offend anyone and if I have I apologize. I feel the information is important and some people are unaware of this information.
Joyless123 is very fortunate to have a doctor that understood her problem of having the pain under treated but I must tell you this is very very rare.
There are many people just here at MH that have experienced this type of problem and they have not been so fortunate.
This post hits pretty close to home for me. I'm one of the people whose doctor has been burned by doc shoppers, and now won't prescribe basically anything for my pain. What's worse is I'm terrified of leaving my neuro (the burned doc) and going to see a PM doc because my neuro will see it as doc shopping and stop treating me at all. He's the best in the state, and I've already tried going out of state, and that didn't work well. I almost lost my neuro's trust then, and I can't afford to lose it a second and final time.
The result of all of this is that I have ONE painkiller, that I'm allowed to take up to 3 days/week for 2 weeks a month. That's IT. Every other day, I'm on my own to deal with the pain. My script is for Tramadol, not Demerol which works better, because my neuro's seen too much abuse with Demerol. I respect my neuro's decisions to follow the CYA policy, but it leaves me hanging out in the cold far too often. When I do break down from the pain, and wind up in the ER requesting Demerol, the ER docs will ALWAYS call my neuro for confirmation that I can take it. That means that if they can't reach him, I get inferior treatment so that the ER can play it safe and not risk feeding an addict/abuser.
I agree, Joyless is VERY lucky to have a doctor that will continue to prescribe them painkillers, at least for the surgery and recovery. However, it's very frustrating for me to see somebody who has abused the system get away with it (at least for now) when I've never put a toe out of line and have to suffer for the mistakes of others like Joyless.
I hope that Joyless has taken this experience as an opportunity to learn and realize that their actions affect more than just themselves. Their actions reflect on us all, as a community of people who need help, and are too often denied it.
PS: After re-reading your original post, and all the comments thereafter (including mine directly above) I noticed something was missing. In your original post you stated,
"The PM clinic would not give me enough pills/high enough does to releive my pain no matter what I said... "
Here's the sticky point. You might not be able to relieve your pain entirely. A pain free life is, given what I understand, not going to be an option for you. It a horrible, but very real truth that you will probably live with pain for the rest of your life.
A life of chronic pain is hard to face. I know. I've had chronic pain since '01. I was 13 when it hit. It was when I was 15 that my doctors looked me square in the eye and said (paraphrased), "You have chronic pain, and will for the rest of your life. Deal with it."
I fought tooth and nail with my pain, sinking deep into depression for several years, refusing to acknowledge the truth. My depressive years were just like your four months of doc shopping. It was a way to avoid the pain. But it didn't work.
When I was slapped in the face with reality and I had to deal with the pain, it was very hard at first. Pain is something our bodies are instinctively trained to avoid. But I couldn't avoid myself any longer. So I did what my doctors had told me 5 years before. I dealt with it. I came to accept my pain as a part of my life.
However, I did NOT give in. That was what I had done during my depression, when I let the pain rule my life. Dealing with the pain face-to-face (so to speak) was extremely liberating. I live again.
I still hurt, yes; constantly. But I have turned the pain that had been holding me down into something that can make me stronger. I've developed a passion for trying to help others in painful situations learn to manage, live, and sometimes thrive despite their chronic pain.
What I'm trying to say is that instead of fighting the pain, and hiding behind more and more medications, learning to acknowledge your pain as real is a huge thing that will help you in the long run. I'm NOT saying that you need to stop taking all pain meds. They're there to help you. But to HELP, not cure.
You need to learn to live life with pain, and continue living.
Thank you Dame. I do understand now why I got so out of control. I was desperately seeking releif that I may never get, even with a new knee. I have been fighting with this pain for at least 10 years. I kept refusing the TKR option because of fear of, guess what, pain. My Doctor and all who I have spoke to seem to think that TKR will releive if not all but most of my pain, because, frankly, I have a new joint. However, I still have pain in the other knee and an unheeled fracture in my foot. So..........I really like your post because it made me understansd the madness that I felt--and the problems I have now created for others JUST LIKE ME!
I am sorry that you have to live with so much pain. I like to think I am somewhat intelligent but I just felt, well, entitled to releif. I hope that you can find someone a bit more pratical and understanding to treat your pain.
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