B. Moore's second letter to CongressJuly 12, 2000
Dr. Benjamin Moore
Congressman Mark Sanford
Dear Congressman Sanford,
I am currently practicing pain medicine with Dr. ******. Because his DEA expired and renewal has been delayed by the local DEA office, I have had to see patients with him and co-sign his notes and prescriptions. We have been very busy and my orientation training has been completed. I was to beginning to see my own patients, and I was to approve his treatments and sign his prescriptions based on his appropriate treatment protocols. Dr. ******'s lawyer said this was ok, but I asked the South Carolina Medical Board to make sure. They didn't know. They said to ask the DEA.
I called the local DEA office and instead of talking with someone who could help me they put me through to ******, a diversion officer. After I asked her if I was practicing according to DEA regulations, she began to accuse me of falsifying records and threatened me by insinuating that I now had become a DEA target. All I wanted was a simple yes or no answer to my question. Anyone who has done a residency knows that doctors frequently sign for one another, so I thought it was a valid question. What I got from her was threats and scare tactics.
She also recounted to me about what her opinion was on the appropriate use of pain medications in chronic pain. She told me that opiate medications were only for terminal cancer patients. According to everything I've learned at Chronic pain management seminars, she is clearly ignorant about the appropriate use of these medications in a non-malignant chronic pain setting. The ideas she expressed about pain management would be simply ridiculous and barbaric in the eyes of most pain specialists.
It was also clear from our conversation that the DEA and the state medical board do not communicate, nor do they follow the same rules and July 12, 2000 regulations with regard to controlled substances. The DEA apparently does not recognize the state board's pain control protocol as valid.
Later as she suggested, reviewed the Code of Federal Regulations and could find no answer with regard to my question. Certainly I could see no restriction about co-signing medical records or signing prescriptions. 21CFR1300-1306.
I am told by our office manager of the practice that the DEA raided, that when she was in Columbia recovering materials seized by the local DEA that individuals from both the DEA office and the medical board where actually making fun of me. She reported that they were laughing and saying I should have some common sense, and not have to ask such a stupid question. They also told Dr. ******'s lawyer to tell me to stop calling them and bothering them with my questions. Do we want government employees who make fun of well intentioned citizens trying to understand the law and do the right thing? They don't give me the impression that their motives are to make sure we follow the law; otherwise I would think that they would go out of their way to address my concerns.
In regards to the DEA not recognizing the states officially sanctioned policies (not to mention the FSMB's), shouldn't there be some cohesive policy between the state and federal agencies in the regulation of controlled substances? Why is it that doctors are investigated by agents who are not up to date with regards to pain management in the setting of non-cancer pain patients. I am working in a chronic pain clinic that follows the state pain management protocols. The medical board statutes state that doctors who follow these guidelines should have nothing to fear from the authorities with regard to threats to their practice or licensure. Why is it that the DEA investigators in South Carolina find it necessary to harass and intimidate law abiding physicians practicing their profession as they were trained? Furthermore, why am I being threatened and intimidated by the DEA simply
because I'm working for Dr. ******?….
I was taught by my parents that the police and law enforcement officers are my friends and are there to protect me. That I should have nothing to fear from them. Therefore I have always respected law enforcement officers and had the highest regard for them. I still believe that the majority of those in law enforcement are well intentioned people who perform admirably under trying circumstances. But I am finding there are some who if given the chance will stop at nothing to advance there agenda and their careers. Our government needs the support of law abiding citizens. Let's not turn citizens against the government or vice versa!
Dr. Benjamin R. Moore
Cc: Donnie Marshall