Montana Pain Patients BILL OF RIGHTS
Montana Pain Patients need to be treated fairly and without prejudice. Pain patients need doctors who will treat their pain while treating the patients with respect.
It is time to hear the voices of the patients and citizens of Montana; the voices the Board of Medical Examiners and Mr. Fanning are paid to protect yet have failed to do so. The Board of Medical Examiners is here to ensure patients are treated safely, not go on witch hunts for doctors with whom then disagree with on how they safely practice medicine. Dr. Ibsen has gone above and beyond adhering to his oath and therefore should not be sanctioned and the case dismissed.
Dr. Mark Ibsen has proudly served Montanans for over 20 years. In 2015, he was voted Helena’s Best Doctor. Dr. Ibsen has shown that the oath he took upon graduating medical school prevails above all else. He has successfully demonstrated their can be a model for treating chronic pain that is both safe and effective. However, the Montana Board of Medical Examiners (BOME) and their attorney, Mr. Michael Fanning,want to sanction Dr. Ibsen and take away his license.
Dr. Ibsen opened Urgent Care Plus in 2010 and by 2011 he started seeing some patients suffering from chronic pain. In 2013, a disgruntled terminated staff member filed a com-plaint making allegations against Dr. Ibsen and his practice.
This report caused a surprise lab inspection on March 10, 2013, which was cleared, along with a notice of hearings regarding Dr. Ibsen’s opioid prescribing and chart documentation. After an initial screening by the BOME, 7 of the original 8 complaints were dismissed. Mr. Scrimm was then appointed as hearing officer for hearings that occurred in October and December 2014. After the hearings, Mr. Scrimm ruled in June 2015 that Dr. Ibsen had not over-prescribed opioid pain medications but his record-keeping needed improvement. It was recommended that Dr. Ibsen take a class on medical record keeping and this matter would be closed.
It is important to note that during the course of this ruling, Mr. Scrimm acknowledged that there is no current “Standard of Care” established for treating patients with chronic pain in Montana or the United States. Mr. Scrimm also acknowledged the difficulties in treating patients with chronic pain and the genetic defects that require some patients to need higher dosages of pain medications. Furthermore, he acknowledged Dr. Ibsen’s compassion, time spent with patients, and the alternatives that were offered to patients which led to many patients being either completely weaned from opioid medications or doses lowered.
At the recent hearing on November 19, 2015, the case should have been resolved with Mr. Scrimm’s ruling. Instead, Mr. Fanning and the BOME arbitrarily decided to ignore the ruling and the BOME would continue with sanctioning Dr. Ibsen with the intended goal of suspending his medical license. In fact, during the hearing two Board members wanted to suspend Dr. Ibsen’s license effective immediately until they were instructed by the Board’s own counsel that it was far too late for that action. A suspension would need to occur immediately following the initial complaints if the Board felt they were critical to the health and safety of Montana citizens.
We respectfully request that the State further investigate this case and bias of the Board of Medical Examiners members and Mr. Fanning. We further request the State remove the current Members of the Board of Medical Examiners and Mr. Fanning from Dr. Ibsen’s case and either dismiss the case or alternatively have a new, unbiased Board and counsel review the case.
1. Mr Fanning and the BOME’s behaviors give rise to this being a personal rather than a medical safety issue. They have not acknowledged Dr. Ibsen’s success in weaning some patients off of opioids completely nor acknowledge that some patients simply cannot have any quality of life without opioid pain medication. Mr. Fanning has argued about a “standard of care” that simply does not exist. The “standard of care” on treating chronic pain is debated throughout the country; not just Montana. Mr. Fanning and the BOME cannot simply install a “standard of care” for Montanans without due process, public hearings, and community involvement.
2. Mr. Fanning and the BOME have made a mockery of the process when during Dr. Ibsen’s hearing on November 19, 2015, they chose to disregard the hearing officer ruling along with the testimony of Dr. Ibsen’s expert witness testimony, yet retained the States expert witness testimony.
a. The States’ expert witness, Dr. Kneeland, is an interventional pain specialist who performs Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) and other expensive, invasive procedures. These injections can induce the painful disease of adhesive arachnoiditis, which by his own admission requires sufferers to depend on opioids for the rest of their lives. Recent medical research has concluded that ESI’s do very little to relieve chronic low back pain and can lead to an increased risk in bone fractures for post-menopausal women. ESI’s are banned by the Government of New Zealand as a health hazard due to the danger of arachnoiditis.
b. This is a clear conflict of interest for Dr. Kneeland. By preventing Dr. Ibsen and other doctors from treating chronic pain patients with opioids, patients will instead be sent to pain specialists like Dr. Kneeland who promote dangerous steroid injections at a cost of $1,200 to $2,000 an injection. St. Jude, manufacturer of implantable neurotransmitters, pays Dr. Kneeland for clinical trials, which are not FDA approved. We object to Doctor Kneeland’s testimony at this hearing because of his conflict of interest and especially when Dr. Ibsen’s own expert’s testimony was not considered.
We respectfully request that during any complaint processes all conflict of interests be examined and not allowed. Furthermore, we request their be a set process for when and how the BOME can arbitrarily decide to set aside a Hearing Officers ruling.
We respectfully request the Montana Board of Medical Examiners require a certification process for a qualified physician to serve on the Board that would be a part of any potential sanctions against physicians whom prescribe opioids.
Pain Patients of Montana
Elizabeth Pincolini started this petition with a single signature, and now has 144 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.
@johntester @stevedaines @ryanzinke @paulrand#montanapainpatientsbillofrights
I’m a pain patient, and tired of be told we dont treat pain patients,(i called many bitterroot offices passed on 15yrs of pain records, only to be told over phone come in, then goodbye at the door) or insurance saying we don’t cover that, and being grouped with the stealers of pain medicine .. why is it so hard to get care and the only care is more metal or injections, when there is 100s of other ways but insurance or doctors will not touch. this is no way to treat documented fused, low back falling apart, stenosis, spurs, low back, lumbar pain etc etc. What has happened to medical care in this country, i have insurance, i have many doctors that have recorded my suffering and pain, but nothing changes, I’m afraid of what will happen when my insurance runs out and i have to get medicare/aid, i would just rather jump off the cliff than plead for pain meds, or a doctor, or help. I did not ask to have osteoarthritis, low back pain 3 failed fusions, tons of pt, this that all to no avail. i just want to live my life out peacefully. Blue cross blue shield is as much to blame as govt, i’m entitled to medical care, not to be told we don’t treat pain patients. we can spend trillions on killing, trillions on spying, trillions on arms, but we cannot care for veterans nor pain patients. such a shame this country.
My fiancé suffers from chronic pain and I witness her struggle both physically and emotionally every single day. It is truly heartbreaking sometimes and I think what she and people like her deal with is a debilitating condition and the system should be helping these people, not persecuting and judging them, and those who are trying to help.
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This issue means everything to me does no one the difference between dependency and addiction
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All the Chronic Pain patients of this country stand behind the medical professionals who are brave enough to continue to treat us despite the current Witch Hunt. We believe that the focus on “The Opioid Crisis” and the appropriate use of opioid medications has taken the focus away from the REAL problem, namely the “Heroin Crisis” and the problem of addiction in all its forms. Please stop persecuting doctors for following their conscience and prescribing as they see appropriate for there patients. The community of pain patients is watching.
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