Top 10, n ° 5 | Arcata doctor charged with overprescribing opioids gets probation – Times-Standard

Editor’s Note: According to times-standard.com readers, these were Humboldt County’s 10 best stories of 2021.

Arcata doctor Corinne Basch, charged with over-prescribing drugs in 2019, was placed on probation in January 2021 by the state medical board and said she only agreed to the settlement to avoid a costly legal battle and harm to its patients.

Dr Basch was placed on probation for 35 months from Jan. 8 by the Medical Board of California, which accused her in May 2019 of over-prescribing pain relievers to five patients and poor record keeping.

Basch said she found the process punitive and was frustrated with the board’s policy requiring doctors to remove their chronic pain patients from pain medication.

“We need to be able to treat people with pain,” Basch told The Times-Standard in January.

“I don’t know all the implications,” Basch said. “It is possible for BlueCross BlueShield patients that I am off-grid. “

Basch said the board selected five patients who were already taking very high doses of opioids when they accepted them as patients and that a random sample would have painted a different picture.

Several Basch patients in 2019 said the doctor was instrumental in helping them find ways other than medication to manage their chronic pain resulting from conditions such as fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by generalized musculoskeletal pain. throughout the body.

“The opioid epidemics (prescribed and illicit) have duly triggered updated guidelines and tighter regulatory oversight of prescription opioids, but over the past two years the ground has also changed in terms of medical opinion. regarding opioid decrease in “old” pain patients, ”Basch wrote in an Aug. 5 letter to the board.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released updated guidelines for prescribing opioids to patients with chronic pain, which indicates that patients with pain who have historically been prescribed high doses of opioids may have developed physical and psychological dependence on the drug which may make gradual reduction difficult and reduction should be done with their consent.

On April 9, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration issued a safety announcement stating that severe damage could result in “sudden stopping of these drugs in patients who are physically dependent on opioid drugs or rapidly decreasing the dose.”

In order to challenge the board, Basch said she would have had to pay exorbitant legal fees and asked her patients to testify publicly on her behalf, compromising their doctor-patient confidentiality.

“I feel guilty for giving in because someone should be fighting this policy,” Basch said. “Patients in the state are dying because of this policy.”

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