Pain clinics involved in criminal investigation, attorney says


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- A new string of medical clinics is recruiting patients across the Upstate, and they are tied to another practice that is closing its doors.

Pain Management Associates practices were raided by the FBI last October. In a lawsuit, they’re accused of Medicare and Medicare fraud and over-prescribing opioids. An attorney for the whistleblowers who brought the original suit said there is also a criminal investigation underway.

Amid financial and legal problems, Pain Management Associates are shutting their doors. According to employees, the Easely and Greenville locations’ last day seeing patients was Friday.

The practices serve more than 20,000 patients across the state. In the wake of closures, Compass Pain Care clinics have popped in Easley and Greenville.

Employees told 7 News the new clinics are recruiting both patients and employees from Pain Management Associates.

Records show Compass Pain Care is registered to Bert Blackwell.

“Dr. Blackwell was the medical director at Oaktree Medical, and he’s a named defendant in our amended complaint as well,” said David Rothstein, who is an attorney representing the whistleblowers.

Oaktree Medical Centre was the parent company of Pain Management Associates. In a lawsuit, Blackwell is accused of violating anti-kickback laws by receiving bonuses tied to treatments.

“The government has not taken any type of action to suspend his ability to submit medicare payments,” Rothstein said.

Blackwell did not respond to a request for an interview.

Court records also detail financial problems. The practices’ former owner, Daniel McCollum, who is being sued by the federal government, is also being pursued by a creditor.

A company called Fidus Investment Corporation said they loaned McCollum money, but he defaulted. The corporation claims McCollum owes them more than $20 million, and they are seeking to recoup more than $9 million, according to a lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the federal government is also looking to recover large amounts of money with a civil suit against McCollum.

“I think it’s probably in the tens of millions of dollars…if not nine figures, but we really don’t know at this point,” Rothstein said.

McCollum and an attorney for him declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

A patient with Pain Management Associates told 7 News they are glad they can continue their treatment at Compass Pain Care.

As for a criminal investigation, U.S. Attorney Lance Crick told 7 News he cannot comment on pending investigations.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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