GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Pain Management Associates, a medical practice treating more than 20,000 people in South Carolina, is preparing to close its nine clinics in the state. However, they are looking for ways to stay open, according spokesperson Mark Hubbard.
Now, some patients are wondering where to go from here.
A spokesperson told 7 News the company is considering closing for financial reasons. They are also being sued by the federal government, accused of prescribing unnecessary opioid medications and fraudulently billing medicare and medicaid.
Candice Loden said she has suffered chronic back pain for years. She said she’s been a patient at Pain Management Associates for eight years and is being treated with medications and an exercise program.
“It gets me through my days,” Loden said. “That’s the most important thing for me…just be able to get up and spend time with my family. Be able to work around the house.”
She said she was shocked when she learned the practices might be shutting their doors soon.
“I felt devastated, nervous, scared,” Loden said.
According to Mark Hubbard, Pain Management Associates is preparing to close its South Carolina locations in two to four weeks for financial reasons.
“I hate that they are having financial issues, but leaving 20,000 patients out to dry because of their legal problems is still not fair to us,” Loden said.
According to Hubbard, they haven’t officially told patients because they are looking for ways to stay open, such as finding a buyer or getting more money.
The State Board of Medical Examiners’ recommends notifying patients about three months before closing.
“It’s very hard to find a doctor in the first place, so trying to look for somebody that specializes in pain management is going to be really tough,” Loden said.
According to the American Medical Association, doctors can risk lawsuits for “patient abandonment” if a patient dosen’t have time to find a new doctor and they’re injured as a result.
“I still think they should have at least been forthcoming with their patients and let us know what was going on so we could know what to maybe expect and have a backup plan in order,” Loden said.
“We are making every effort to keep our clinics open in order to continue to provide quality care to our patients and will continue to focus on these efforts,” Hubbard said.