CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. — More than 3,000 patients could be forced to find new medical care after two well-known doctors in Northern Kentucky face federal charges, accused of writing illegitimate prescriptions for controlled substances.
On Nov. 18, a federal grand jury indicted Dr. Kendall Hansen and Dr. Michael Fletcher in two separate cases. The pair are listed as practicing at Interventional Pain Specialists in Crestview Hills, Ky.
Federal agents accuse Hansen of getting other doctors to prescribe him high doses of opioids. Those agents claim Hansen would write prescriptions for employees and instruct them to bring him the pills.
The indictment against Hansen lists 480 tramadol doses and 30 phentermine doses.
In a separate filing, federal agents accuse Fletcher of writing oxycodone hydrochloride prescriptions that were not for legitimate medical use.
The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure restricted both Fletcher and Hansen’s licenses Nov. 23, prohibiting them from prescribing controlled substances.
Each doctor had federal arraignments Dec. 1 in which they pleaded not guilty. Hansen wrote a statement to WCPO 9 saying the federal court decided he could continue to prescribe controlled medications pending the result of his case.
“We are worried about public safety and welfare if over 100 patients a day are forced to go into withdrawal and then feel the full effect of their pain and lose the ability to function because of their medically necessary pain diagnosis,” Hansen said in the statement. “We have over 3,000 patients, so this could result in a medical emergency and national news.”
Hansen said there are a few other local pain practices, but not enough to take on all of their patients. Hansen says Interventional Pain Specialists has been under investigation for about three years, and no charges have been filed against the business.
Two NKY doctors named in federal opioid case. Here's Dr. Kendall Hansen's response. pic.twitter.com/wcg1HLzH6O
Outside the practice, one of Hansen’s patients, Jacqueline Fritsch, said, “When I came here, I could hardly walk, and that man has helped me tremendously. I can walk now.”
One of Fletcher’s patients, Jackie Carter, cried as she described the pain she is enduring since the federal indictment.
“On top of all the pain, I’m having withdrawal symptoms,” said Carter. “This is not right. There’s people that’s in extreme pain, myself included, and what he’s done is just not acceptable.”
Carter said she has had trouble finding other care.
“I have tried, but I have been told by eight doctors this morning doctor’s offices say they will not touch Dr. Fletcher’s patients. They will not see them. They said to check with your primary physician,” said Carter.
She said her primary doctor does not prescribe controlled substances, an issue Hansen raised in his statement.
“IPS and the Specialty of Pain Management was asked to increase prescribing of opioids after primary care physicians were told to limit chronic prescribing,” Hansen said. “I have been in discussions with heads of St. Elizabeth Hospitals asking for help during our recent issue.”
Hansen filed a complaint in federal court in August against CVS Pharmacy. In it, he accuses pharmacists of refusing to fill his patients’ prescriptions.
WCPO 9 is still waiting for a response from Fletcher.
He faces three counts of Distribution of a Controlled Substance. Hansen faces one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substance and two counts of Distribution of a Controlled Substance.
They are each scheduled to be back in court for pretrial conferences Jan. 26.
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3,000 NKY patients could be forced to find new care due to federal opioid accusations – WCPO