By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has filed a six-count complaint against Dr. Frank Campbell, medical director of the Madison County Community Health Center, alleging he violated state law by allowing physician assistants to prescribe pain medicine to patients.
The complaint was filed with the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, and follows an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration that began in early May.
In an interview with DEA agents on May 10, Campbell said he allowed two physician assistants, Mathew and Regan Taylor, to write prescriptions for controlled substances using his federal permit, and Indiana Controlled Substance Registration, which included Schedule II drugs, according to the attorney general’s filing.
Campbell pre-signed prescription pads the Taylors used to dispense pain medication after they examined patients. According to the complaint, approximately 14,000 prescriptions were written that way in 2012, which were filed under Campbell’s federal and state permits.
The investigation was initiated at a time when both federal and state officials are seeking to curb the abuse of prescription drugs and the activities of so-called pill mills. No criminal charges have been filed against Campbell or the Taylors.
Schedule II narcotics, according to a Department of Justice website, include hydromorphone (Dilaudid), methadone (Dolophine), oxycodone (OxyContin and Percocet), and morphine, opium and codeine.
Schedule II stimulants include amphetamine (Dexedrine and Adderall), and methylphenidate (Ritalin). The latter drugs are frequently prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder in both children and adults.
Medication in this class of drugs has a high potential for abuse, which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence, according to the website.
In response to the DEA’s investigation, the Community Health Center reviewed and enhanced the center’s already robust management programs for patients with chronic pain, officials said.
Anthony J. Malone, president and CEO of the center, said on Wednesday that the health center for years has been a leader in establishing strict procedures in the dispensing of potentially addictive pain and stimulant drugs, and is working with state officials and newly established medical groups.
Marlita Williams, the center’s director of research, grants and quality, said patients who suffer from chronic pain are required to attend pain management programs. “There are a lot of people who have chronic pain,” Williams said. “Our goal has always been to wean them down to the lowest amount they can live with and still be functional.”
She added that patients can’t arrive at the medical center and simply receive a prescription without a thorough examination and assessment. And that was equally true with the physician assistants who worked with Campbell. Even though he may not have personally examined every patient himself, Williams said, he always carefully reviewed all the charts and the results of their patient workups.
Tom Ruge, an Indianapolis attorney representing Campbell, said Wednesday that all the allegations raised in the attorney general’s complaint will be addressed in a hearing of the Medical Licensing Board later this month.
“Dr. Campbell is very rigorous in his review of physician assistants,” Ruge said. “I think they’ve got a good system there that works,” he said of the Community Health Center’s pain management program.
Founded in 1999, the center’s mission is to provide accessible health care to the uninsured and under-insured residents of Madison County, including Medicaid and Medicare recipients.
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