American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians | February 27, 2019
Abstract Submission Deadline Extended to March 4

Abstract submissions are now being accepted for the 2019 ASIPP Annual Meeting Abstract and Poster Contest. The top 10 abstracts selected by our panel will be presented at the annual meeting. The top 25 abstracts will be presented as electronic posters in view for all our attendees.

Click HERE to submit. Deadline is March 4
July 13 - July 14 | Memphis, TN
The American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians ( ABIPP ) has developed certification programs that recognize accepted levels of knowledge and expertise in the interventional pain management
profession, with the goal of improved patient care. Hundreds of qualified physicians have made the commitment to become ABIPP certified.

Register before March 30, 2019. Fee only $1,000.

April 1 to May 30, 2019, fee is $2,000

May 1 to May 30, fee is total of $3,000

No registrations after May 30.

ABIPP now offers the only competency certification program for regenerative medicine.
For complete information about the examination requirements and to obtain an application packet, visit or call 270-554-9412 x4217 or by email at

July 13
July 13-14
July 14
ABIPP Competency Exam

July 13
Combined CSM/CCPM Exam for ABIPP Path
July 13
Competency Exam in Controlled Substance Managemen

July 13
Competency Exam in Coding, Compliance, and
Practice Management

July 13-14
Regenerative Medicine Competency Exam
July 13-14
Endoscopic Lumbar Decompression Competency Exam

939 Ridge Lake Blvd. | Memphis, TN 38120
The cut-off date for our room block with discounted rates is on June 10, 2019 or until sold out, whichever occurs first.

ASIPP Liability Insurance Program - with average premium reductions of 35%  

The ASIPP malpractice insurance program is up and running. Practices who have signed up are realizing tremendous savings - some as high as 60K per year. The program is specifically tailored to interventional pain management and works with multiple top rated carriers to secure the best rate and coverage.
ABIPP practices will be eligible for additional discounts off the ASIPP rate. The program along with the insurance carrier will be offering additional education and risk management programs specific to interventional pain management.
To proceed with this further and obtain the best rates possible please reach out to the insurance program broker & administrator.
Tom Wierzbowski
Willow Risk Advisors
 Ph –  267-448-5091 (Direct Line)
 Cell –  267-884-2729
Regenerative Medicine and Antithrombotic Guidelines Now Available

Responsible, Safe, and Effective Use of Biologics in the Management of Low Back Pain: American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) Guidelines

Responsible, Safe, and Effective Use of Antithrombotics and Anticoagulants in Patients Undergoing Interventional Techniques: American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) Guidelines

ONDCP Takes Flak for New Strategy Document

WASHINGTON -- The new strategic plan from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is fine as an outline but too short on detail, independent experts told MedPage Today -- especially since the Trump administration took 2 years to finally pull one together.
"There's nothing wrong with what they put out, it's just not ... very specific. It doesn't set goals, it doesn't include directives to certain agencies, and I'm not sure what that says about the role of the office," said Regina LaBelle, JD, principal for LaBelle Strategies and a former ONDCP official in the Obama administration.
Caleb Alexander, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said much the same when asked to comment on the plan: "Ideally the ONDCP would be quarterbacking the whole federal response or at least be clearly in the huddle, and I'm not sure that that's the case."

Drug Prices are Outrageous, But There is a Way to Reduce Them
Allowing for patent protection while encouraging competition is a difficult balance

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the high cost of prescription drugs in the U.S., not unlike Senate hearings on the same topic held in 1959 and 1960.
As we await the latest event, it's a good time to consider the environment in which it's taking place. First, note that the price of these same prescription drugs is not outrageous anywhere else in the developed world.
And, as observed by Daniel Keyles , from 2008 to 2016 the price of new prescription drugs in the U.S. doubled, while the prices of older drugs moved up. Exhortations from President Trump have done nothing to slow the trend. On the campaign trail, however, he happened on the solution, which he conspicuously has not proposed . More about that in a bit.

New Opioid Epidemic 'Hot Spots' Emerge in U.S.
Once considered largely a Midwest problem, opioid mortality is rising quickly in Eastern U.S.

New opioid epidemic "hot spots" -- areas where opioid mortality rates are both high and rapidly increasing -- have emerged in the U.S., according to an analysis of CDC data.
While opioid-related mortality often is stereotyped as a rural, low-income phenomenon concentrated in Appalachia and the Midwest, it has spread quickly, especially in the eastern part of the country, reported Mathew Kiang, ScD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and co-authors in  JAMA Network Open .

Interventional Pain Management Reports is an Open Access online journal, a peer-reviews journal dedicated to the publication of case reports, brief commentaries and reviews and letters to the editor. It is a peer-reviewed journal written by and directed to an audience of interventional pain physicians, clinicians and basic scientists with an interest in interventional pain management and pain medicine. 

Interventional Pain Management Reports is an official publication of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) and is a sister publication of Pain Physician . Interventional Pain Management Reports Interventional Pain Management Reports is an open access journal, available online with free full manuscripts.  

The benefits of publishing in an open access journal that has a corresponding
print edition journal are:  
  • Your article will have the potential to obtain more citations.
  • Your article will be peer-reviewed and published faster than other journals.
  • Your article can be read by a potentially much larger audience compared with traditional subscription-only journals.  
  • Open Access journals are FREE to view, download and to print.

So submit today your:
  • Case Reports
  • Technical Reports
  • Editorials
  • Short Perspectives

CMS: Flood of Baby Boomers to Drive Growth in U.S. Health Spending

WASHINGTON -- Health spending in the U.S. is expected to grow from $3.6 trillion in 2018 to $6.0 trillion by 2027, according to a new report from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) actuaries.
The estimated growth in spending, an average of 5.5% annually over the next decade, will be driven largely by an influx of baby boomers enrolling in Medicare, income growth, and the rising costs of medical goods and services, according to the projections published in  Health Affairs   on Wednesday.

Hospital Acquisitions of Physician Practices Rose 128% Since 2012
New data shows hospital acquisitions of physician practices are increasing, causing the number of hospital-employed physicians to rise by 70 percent from 2012 to 2018.

February 21, 2019 - Hospital acquisitions of physician practices continues to be a strong trend in the healthcare space, according to new data from Avalere Health and the Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI).
In an emailed press release, the organizations reported that hospitals acquired approximately 8,000 physician practices between July 2016 and July 2018. That number is on top of the  5,000 hospital acquisitions of physician practices  from July 2015 to July 2016.
Overall, hospital acquisitions of physician practices increased by 128 percent from 2012 to 2018, the updated analysis found. In July 2012, only 35,700 practices were considered hospital-owned, but that number jumped to 80,000 practices by the start of 2018.

Why Is Medicine So Expensive?

The prominence of high drug prices among current American grievances derives from three recent episodes. In 2014 Gilead Sciences brought out Sovaldi, a drug that cures hepatitis C within twelve weeks but costs $1,000 a pill, making the price of a full course of treatment $84,000. In 2015 Turing Pharmaceuticals, a new company headed by Martin Shkreli, a hedge-fund manager, acquired Daraprim, the sole treatment available in the United States for a life-threatening parasitic infection, and raised the price per tablet from $13.50 to $750. (Shkreli is now serving a prison sentence for fraud unrelated to drug prices.) And in 2016 Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which had a stranglehold on the market for EpiPens (used to counter allergic shock), began selling them wholesale for $284 apiece, a 600 percent increase over the wholesale price in 2007, and offering them only in packages of two. 1

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced a bipartisan bill that would reduce the egregious wasted spending on discarded medications that are the result of excessively large, single-use drug vials. The Recovering Excessive Funds for Unused and Needless Drugs (REFUND) Act would enable Medicare to recoup money from drug companies who were paid for wasted medications, and provide savings to seniors enrolled in Medicare.
“Too many drug companies insist on selling their medications in excessively large packages that contain more medicine than the average patient needs. The excess is thrown away and the patient and taxpayer pay for the wasted medicine,” Durbin said. “This is a completely preventable waste of taxpayer dollars. It literally means American patients are paying for drugs that are tossed in the trash. The bipartisan REFUND Act will stop this wasteful practice and instead provide needed relief for patients who face out of control prescription drug costs.

2019 MIPS Reporting? Start Now.
MIPS-eligible clinicians must report a full year of data. Don’t fall behind – keep up with NIPM-QCDR.
MIPS 2019 has brought larger payment adjustments and greater reporting requirements, including a 365-day performance period for the Quality and Cost categories. The sooner you start your MIPS reporting for 2019, the better.
Sign up today to use ASIPP’s NIPM-QCDR for MIPS.
This powerful tool makes MIPS reporting easy through the use of our new patient-reported outcomes measures for 2019, which ease the burden on providers and reduces costly EMR integration.

Get started today at

More States Say Docs Must Offer Naloxone With Opioids

In a growing number of states, patients who get opioids for serious pain may leave their doctors' offices with a prescription for the opioid reversal drug naloxone (Narcan, Evzio) as well.
New state laws and regulations in  California Virginia Arizona Ohio Washington Vermont , and  Rhode Island  require physicians to co-prescribe or at least offer naloxone prescriptions when prescribing opioids to patients considered at high risk of overdosing. Patients can be considered at high risk if they need a large opioid dosage, take certain other drugs, or have sleep apnea or a history of addiction.

Tanezumab, an investigational subcutaneously-administered, non-opioid treatment, may benefit patients with moderate to severe chronic low back pain (CLBP), according to top-line results from a Phase 3 study.
Study A4091059 , a double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled study, included patients with moderate to severe CLBP who had persistent low back pain for more than 3 consecutive months. Patients (N=1832) were randomized to 1 of 4 treatment groups: placebo every 8 weeks to week 16, then at week 16, patients who met the efficacy responder criteria were switched equally to tanezumab 5mg or 10mg every 8 weeks to week 56; tanezumab 5mg every 8 weeks to week 56; tanezumab 10mg every 8 weeks to week 56; or oral  tramadol prolonged-release  (PR) daily to week 56. 

DEA Tool Helps Drug Manufacturers, Distributors Identify Suspicious Opioid Orders

Drug manufacturers and distributors will now be able to access a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) database that monitors controlled substances from the point of manufacture all the way through to the point of sale (e.g., practitioners, pharmacies, hospitals/clinics). 
The Automated Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS) will now be open to over 1500 registered drug manufacturers and distributors. DEA-registered manufacturers and distributors will be able download information on controlled substance distribution, such as the number of distributors and the amount each sold to a prospective customer in the previous 6 months. The data available in ARCOS is anonymized and does not contain specific information on sales to patients.

Pain Physician
January/February 2019 Issue Features

Sjors H. Wagemakers, MD, Joanne M. van der Velden, MD, PhD, A. Sophie Gerlich, MD, Alinde W. Hindriks-Keegstra, MD, Jacqueline F.M. van Dijk, PhD, and Joost J.C. Verhoeff, MD, PhD.
Cui Zhiyong, MD, Tian Yun, MD, Feng Hui, MD, Yang Zhongwei, MD, and Liu Zhaorui, MD.

Zung Vu Tran, PhD, Anna Ivashchenko, MPH, and Logan Brooks, BA.
Peng-Fei Wu, BD, Ya-Wei Li, MD, Bing Wang, MD, Bin Jiang, BD, Zhi-Ming Tu, BD, and Guo-Hua Lv, MD.

Parisa Nejati, MD, Afsaneh Safarcherati, MD, and Farshid Karimi, MD.

House of pain: Feds detail alleged 'pill mill' scheme at Warren pain center

Warren — Pain pill scalpers roamed the parking lot at a Macomb County clinic embroiled in one of the nation's largest health care fraud cases, chugging booze, smoking weed and buying drugs hot off the prescription pad, according to the FBI.
The FBI painted a deadly portrait of life inside Pain Center USA, which rose to prominence amid the nation's opioid epidemic, as part of its federal filing to convince a judge to approve the seizure of almost $26 million from the clinic's owner and medical team.
Until federal agents shut down the clinic in December, Warren's Pain Center USA had an armed guard, a body count and standing orders for patients to undergo unnecessary back injections in exchange for pain pills, according to a briefly unsealed search warrant affidavit obtained by The News.

Generic Versions of Suboxone Sublingual Film Now Available to Treat Opioid Dependence

Generic versions of  Suboxone  (buprenorphine and naloxone;  Indivior ) Sublingual Film have been made available by Sandoz and Alvogen.
Sandoz will be marketing and distributing the authorized generic to Indivior’s brand product; authorized generics are made under a brand’s existing New Drug Application. Alvogen will be launching its generic equivalent of the product. 
Buprenorphine and Naloxone Sublingual Film is indicated for the treatment of  opioid dependence , as part of a complete treatment plan that includes counseling and support. The CIII scheduled drug combines buprenorphine, a partial-opioid agonist, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist. Under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA), prescription use of this product in the treatment of opioid dependence is limited to healthcare providers who meet certain qualifying requirements, and who have notified the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) of their intent to prescribe this product for the treatment of opioid dependence and have been assigned a unique identification number that must be included on every prescription.

Stem cell clinic doc being sued by FDA now gets agency warning for unapproved breast device

When the FDA has a major problem with something, it can issue a warning letter or more rarely it can file suit in court for an injunction against the particular party. The FDA has now done both of these things on different fronts with Beverly Hills stem cell clinic doctor and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Mark Berman.
Berman and his clinic partner, urologist Elliot Lander , run an adipose stem cell firm called California Stem Cell Treatment Center. This clinic seems effectively to also be the HQ of a network of about 100 stem cell clinics called Cell Surgical Network . The FDA described the clinic’s and the network’s adipose cell product as a drug and the agency has not approved its use in patients.
A lengthy FDA warning letter to Berman popped up this week on a different front.

Katherine Kealoha and doctor brother plead not guilty to drug charges

H ONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former deputy city Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha and her brother, a Big Island physician, pleaded not guilty to dozens of drug charges in federal court on Wednesday.
The new allegations represent the latest twist in a sprawling federal investigation that’s rocked Hawaii’s law enforcement community. Kealoha and her husband Louis, Honolulu’s former chief of police, are already facing a  host of other federal charges as part of broad public corruption and financial fraud cases.
The Kealohas walked into the federal courthouse holding hands, on Wednesday afternoon, and did not speak to the press. Puana, who was already being held in federal custody, was transported to the court hours earlier.

Former Mt. Holly doctor gets 36 months after trading prescriptions for sex

MT. HOLLY, NC (WBTV) - A Mt. Holly doctor now faces 36 months in prison after pleading guilty to drug distribution, health care fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.
Dr. Michael Alson Smith, 65, will also have to complete two years of supervised released and pay a $3,562.29 restitution. The former doctor  admitted to prescribing pain medication  to female patients in exchange for sex acts in federal court back in 2018. Smith threatened to stop treating another patient for pain management when she refused his sexual advances and prescribed the victim medication “without performing any medical examination,” according to court documents.
According to court documents, from at least January 2017 to October 2017, Dr. Smith began to solicit sexual encounters from female patients who he treated for pain management and/or substance abuse.
In exchange for the encounters, Dr. Smith prescribed to those patients Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances, including Percocet and Clonazepam (also known as Klonopin), among others.

Texas Doctor and Hospital Owner Convicted in Multimillion Dollar Health Care Fraud Scheme
A federal jury found an internal medicine doctor and hospital owner guilty today for their roles in a multimillion health care fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas.
Following a two-week trial, Harcharan Narang, 50, of Houston, Texas, and Dayakar Moparty, 47, of Houston, Texas,were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, 17 counts of health care fraud and three counts of money laundering. Sentencing is set for June 20, before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake of the Southern District of Texas, who presided over the trial.
Narang is a physician who owned and practiced at North Cypress Clinical Associates in Cypress, Texas. Moparty managed and operated Red Oak Hospital (Red Oak) in Houston, Texas. During the trial, evidence was admitted showing that Narang and Moparty unlawfully enriched themselves by submitting false and fraudulent claims for medical tests that were not medically necessary and/or not provided and then billed at Red Oak Hospital at a higher reimbursement rate.


Southern California Pharmacy Owner Sentenced to Prison for Her Role in Health Care and Wire Fraud Scheme
A Southern California pharmacy owner was sentenced today to 48 months in prison for her role in a Medicare fraud scheme involving more than $1.5 million in fraudulent claims for prescription drugs. 
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna of the Central District of California, Assistant Director in Charge Paul D. Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division and Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Regional Office made the announcement.
Tamar Tatarian, 39, of Pasadena, California, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter of the Central District of California, who also ordered Tatarian to pay $1,537,710.73 in restitution to Medicare. On Dec. 14, 2018, Tatarian was convicted of one count of health care fraud and two counts of wire fraud following a four-day jury trial. 
State Society News 

July 12-14, 2019
GSIPP 2019 - 15th Annual Meeting & Pain Summit
The Cloister Hotel at Sea Island
Sea Island, GA
For more information, contact Karrie Kirwan at or Tara Morrison at or 770-613-0932.

July 26-28, 2019
PAIN 2019
West Virginia Society of Pain Physicians
Loews Miami Beach, FL

Send in your state society meeting news to Holly Long,
ASIPP | Pain Physician Journal | Phone | Fax | Email