After a four-year investigation, 12 people involved in a pain clinic in Southern West Virginia were indicted for their roles in an alleged “pill mill,” U. S. Attorney Michael Stuart announced February 20.
The owners, managers and physicians of HOPE Clinic were among those who were charged in the 69-count indictment. HOPE Clinic operated as a pain management clinic in Charleston, Beckley and Beaver, West Virginia, and in Wytheville, Virginia. The indictment alleges that those involved distributed oxycodone and other Schedule II controlled substances outside of their legitimate and intended medical purposes between November 2010 and June 2015.
Dr. James Blume, Jr. and Mark T. Radcliff are accused of operating the clinic as a cash-based business and refusing to accept insurance for reimbursement for services and medications provided at the clinic.
Blume was the owner of HOPE Clinic and Radcliffe was the owner of Patients, Physicians and Pharmacists Fighting Diversion, Inc., commonly referred to as PPPFD.
Blume and Radcliffe allegedly contracted services of physicians who had no knowledge of pain management and who consistently conducted “cursory, incomplete or no medical examinations of clinic customers,” according to the indictment. The physicians prescribed thousands of pills to patients who they had reason to believe were drug addicts, according to the indictment.
Even though they had no medical training, Mark Radcliffe and his son, Josh Radcliffe, instructed medical practitioners at the clinics to provide customers at the clinic with prescriptions for the Schedule II substances, sometimes in direct contrast to the practitioners’ clinical opinions, according to the indictment.
The WV Department of Health and Human Resources shut down the HOPE Clinic in April 2015. (Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail)