CHARLESTON, W.Va. — At a Raleigh County pain clinic earlier this year, state inspectors interviewed a medical director who said he tried to change pain-pill prescribing practices at the facility, but the clinic’s practice manager nixed the idea and issued a directive: “Give patients what they want.”
The state Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification later cited Hope Clinic in Beaver with dozens of deficiencies that put patients’ health and safety at risk.
The state’s 136-page report shows that the pain clinic operated mostly without medical professionals, except for a doctor who had no say over how the facility was run. Inspectors discovered at least six people who worked at the clinic who also received pain medications as patients there. And they flagged higher-ups for allegedly putting profits over patient care.
“Our biggest issue with this clinic was the designated physician owner not having care and control and complete oversight of the clinic, as well as various personnel without appropriate experience providing medical treatment,” said Jolynn Marra, director of the state Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification.
Instead of nurses, retired police officers worked at the facility, according to the report. The officers had no medical training, yet they were printing out hundreds of prescriptions without a doctor’s order, diagnosing patients and taking their pulse and blood pressure, documents show.
“When I take blood pressure and it is high, sometimes I tell the patient it is high and sometimes not…