Seattle Pain Centers shutdown pushes 1,500-plus patients into ERs

The abrupt July closure of Renton, Wash.-based Seattle Pain Centers — an 8,000-patient pain management chain spanning eight locations — has pushed more than 1,500 patients into Washington emergency rooms, according to The Seattle Times.

The centers were closed after the medical license of Frank Li, MD, the center's medical director, was suspended for not properly monitoring opioid prescriptions, which may have been a factor in 18 deaths since 2010, according to the report.

Since the center's closure, the state Department of Health has not recorded any deaths from opioid withdrawal, though the agency is not always notified, according to the report. State records show the 1,500-patient uptick in Washington ERs was tracked between Aug. 17 and Sept. 18. However, the data does not include diagnoses, so Seattle Pain patients could have been seeking care unrelated to pain relief, according to the report.

The influx of patients appears stable for now, according to the report, though hospital officials told The Seattle Times the problem could swell next month when prescriptions from mid-July begin to expire.

Read the full report here.

 

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