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One week ago on October 18, 2015, the Oklahoman ran an extensive article on the front page of the Metro and State section about the Armed Raid by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs (OBN) and Oklahoma State Attorney General’s Office (AG) on my Medical practice in late January 2015. A few days later, the online version of this article mysteriously disappeared, which adds yet another layer and another chapter to this increasingly troubling story about government overreach and impropriety.
It has led some people, including myself, whether or not this was a “glitch” or a broken link in the online platform, or whether it represents an attempt by the OBN and AG ‘s office to strong arm the media to conceal what the public is beginning to see as misdeeds and abuse of power.
If this was not a computer glitch by NewsOK, then the article can simply be replaced. If not, I believe I understand why “they” scrubbed this information.
Let’s review the circumstances. The chilling effect of this unusual and bizarre overcome left patients under my care without a physician to manage their pain, multiple employees without jobs, and myself without the licenses to continue to practice medicine in any form or to prescribe medications for pain and other controlled substances. The last memory of all of my employees of their jobs will be standing up against a wall by agents of the State of Oklahoma with semi-automatic weapons, fearing for their lives and wondering what happened. The only record of the raid was carefully destroyed as the agent escorted one of the employees to the office security cameras, so that their assault on our civil rights, persons and property would not be document. Just prior to the raid, we now know The AG’s Office tipped off several news outlets so that the raid would be publicized to maximum PR effect for them and the OBN.
To add insult to injury, much of the property, computers, servers, records and hardware that was seized, has yet to be returned 9 months later. What has been returned has clear damage.
In the article, I recounted the raid and the fact that the reason behind it still perplexes me. With increasing evidence that has come to light has made me question the reason behind this raid.
What we knew from the search affidavit, submitted to Judge Cindy Truong, under cover of night, is that I had been under investigation begun by Agent April D. ‘Carpenter’ Woodard of the Oklahoma State Attorney Generals Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and had been placed under surveillance by her order at my home and office for a period of about 3 years. Undercover officers recruited from OBN by Agent Woodard posed as patients with chronic pain. One patient was refused medication refill per our narcotic protocol. A second undercover agent falsified her urine test by sprinkling crushed pills into her urine test to make the test become positive. This was done in an effort to evade and undermine our narcotic medication protocol and our specific narcotic agreement that is signed by all the patients. Agent Carpenter falsely suggested in the affidavit that one, and only one patient, had died of a drug overdose while under care. This was done to justify the urgency of the State intrusion into my office by manufacturing a perception of “risk to public safety”. What she neglected, probably deliberately, to indicated in this affidavit, was the patient died weeks after she had been terminated from my care, and no longer had medications or refills that I had prescribed. What she also stated is the patient died from “Morphine Toxicity” as indicated in autopsy reports. From their own database, the OBN and AG officials knew that “Morphine” or any medicine that converts to Morphine in the body, were not medications that were prescribed to this patient by me at any time.
In the article I was critical of the OBN, AG , the Oklahoma State Medical Board (OSMB), who violated due process and moved quite rapidly to suspend my license to practice based on hearsay from the media and reports from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and April Carpenter Woodward, which had neither been fact-checked or proven. I also extend the criticism to include, a new player, the Oklahoma Heath Care Authority (OHCA), the troubled and embattled State Agency which administers the State Medicaid Program called SoonerCare.
OHCA’s potential involvement in this raid was not apparent to me initially . It took some digging and analysis inorder to arrive at the theory that the motive for the raid on my office and the disruption of my life, my patient’s lives and my employee’s lives, had nothing to do with a suspicion of fraud, but everything to do with the OHCA’s desperation to cut costs in light of a well-reported 78-100 Million dollar deficit in their budget. The budget deficit is the consequence of the State not receiving matching federal funds, which was a consequence of its ‘political decision’ to decline the “Affordable Care Act” (ACA). This decline of the ACA made great politics, however it was a decision apparently not made in light of the budget realities of the OHCA, placing OHCA in an unenviable position of desperation. The Attorney General was one of a few vocal opponents around the nation of the ACA also know as Obamacare. They targeted Urine testing, the medically necessary tests to confirm that patients are taking their medications appropriately and safely, which allows the prescribing physician to intervene if levels are absent or dangerously high. If they are absent, the patient may not be taking the medications as directed, or may not be taking them at all. They may be selling these medications or diverting them in some other way. If they are dangerously high, the patient is not taking them as prescribed, maybe overtaking them at times, may be trying to deceive the test by taking them immediately before the testing is done, any of which would be problematic.
There is no doubt among any objective people with experts that Urine testing is medically necessary. The only objects to this have been lodged by the insurance companies, including OHCA, who are responsible for paying for these tests. These test by the way are not cheap. The testing companies may charge anywhere from 700 to 3000 per patient sample. For a patient needing monthly tests to verifying safety and compliance, these costs add up. I took care of a large number of Medicaid patients . I have estimated that the charges the OHCA received by the urine testing companies for the care of these patients could be as high as 10.8 Million dollars per year. This is a significant amount of money that OHCA incurred, in light of a budget deficit that was 78 Million dollars. It is my opinion that someone at OHCA made the decision to remove this cost from their budget, for no other reason than to save money. They could choose to eliminate 300 patients from the plan who were under my care, or engineer the circumstance to justify taking my licenses to practice. Either way would solve the problem. They chose the simplest way. Without a license or a way to generate revenue, they have assumed I would have no way to fight back. No other doctor who’s office has been raided in this manner, has mounted a fight. Some of them tried to run away. Some of them took the punch. I did not run. I am fighting back.
In that light, here is why I believe the OBN, AG or OHCA had this article scrubbed from online, if this was not simply a “broken link”
The OBN spokesman, who I occasionally refer to as Pastor Mark Woodward for his frequent faux-pas and public injection of false and non sequitir Biblical scripture to explain and justify such OBN policies as the Marijuana prohibition, said a dangerous thing which undermines the entire credibility of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
“OBN and state law does not require or mandate urine testing, random pill counts or assessment of patients regarding the medication they take” Woodward told The Oklahoman, adding that the action taken by his agency had nothing to do with those things.”
The implication from the OBN Spokesman Mark Woodard’s Statement is that doctors can not and will not be penalized for not doing urine tests to assess compliance, not doing random pill counts to protect against drug-selling and diversion and not examining patients. Ironically, these are the only ways that doctors can protect against diversion and to prevent overdose deaths which is the chief reason that OBN exists, the mainstay of their extravagant PR efforts with drop-box seminars in various communities and their appearance in parades. The sad thing that this state reveals is that this attitude by OBN may underlie the reason that overdose death rates have increased steadily by 12% each year under Director Darrell Weaver’s watch since at least 2006 and why deaths from Methamphetamine overdose have increased. And why Oklahoma remains in the unenviable position nationally as the state.
This knowledge will unleash a flood gate of joy, not only by physicians burdened with rule changes, but abusers bent on diverting and selling drugs. The Drug Dealers are applauding this affirmation of their work. Mark Woodward speaking for the OBN just gave them the FREE PASS they needed.
If I were OBN Directory Darrell Weaver, and my contract renewal was contingent on my performance, I would want this article scrubbed too or, at least, have that quote redacted. Unfortunately, whether the online article reappears or not, the cat got let out of the bag, BIGTIME!
This wasn’t the only damning quote. It was just the dumbest, and the one most undermining to the credibility of OBN. There were others . Stay tuned.
A link to the original NEWSOK online article is here. The internet never forgets……