Roland Doctor Gets Prescribing License Revoked,
Plans To Appeal
Anny Sivilay/Sequoyah County Times
Dr. Ronald V. Myers Sr.
A Roland doctor recently had his prescribing license revoked by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBNDD) for reportedly prescribing 4.6 million dosage units of controlled dangerous substances (CDS) between Jan. 1, 2013 and June 2014.
In a document filed on April 2, the bureau named Dr. Ronald Myers, Sr. M.D.'s principal place of business as the Wellness Clinic in Roland during the time of the investigation and their investigation showed “clear and convincing evidence” of several instances of over prescribing CDS while he was at the clinic.
The bureau also called several witnesses to testify including a clinic patient, Tammy Tanksley, and a former doctor of the clinic, Dr. John Conrad Friedl.
According to court records, the bureau states that Myers was the medical director of the clinic but Bernard M. Tougas, Jr. was the director and registered agent of the clinic.
The bureau's finding showed Myers was issuing prescriptions for CDS with more than one prescription on the form, and two other former Roland clinic doctors, Dr. Friedl and Dr. George B. Howell, Sr. also wrote multiple non-conforming prescriptions.
Myers, “in his proposed findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, attempted to explain this by stating he is also licensed as a physician in Arkansas and 30 of these patients were from and filled their prescriptions in Arkansas.”
Friedl testified that Myers did not supervise him and it was not his (Myers) practice to give Friedl instructions or orders on things to do, and that he (Friedl) was supervised by physician assistant Tougas.
After Friedl left the clinic and Howell was terminated; the Oklahoma and Arkansas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) showed a substantial increase in Myers' prescribing, showing he prescribed a total of 44,850 CDS, according to court documents.
“You've got irresponsible doctors giving out 30 to 40 Oxycodones a month,” Myers response to the prescribing increase. “In order to care for the patients, instead of kicking them to the curb, I took several months to wean them down.”
Myers' revocation of prescribing license takes effect May 2 and lasts a year, which he said he plans to appeal to clear his name. He is also ordered to pay an administrative fine of $25,000, failing to pay that in full he cannot re-apply for a new OBNDD registration.
The Wellness Clinic of Roland has been replaced by St. Madron Medical Clinic with a new owner.
In the report, Friedl testified he first met Myers when he started working at the clinic and was aware of the clinic's reputation for being a “pill mill” and believed the place to be so. He also believed 50 percent of the patients were not legitimate patients; and he did not have control over the frequency and number of patients he would see each day; that was controlled by Tougas' mother, Debra Cox.
Tanksley was a patient at the clinic, had been arrested for selling her prescription CDS and used in an undercover operation at the clinic. Her visits to the clinic on Dec. 10, 2013 and Jan. 7, 2014 were recorded by authorities.
On her first visit she reportedly spent about 43 seconds with P.A. Tougas and then left the clinic with four prescription CDS signed by Myers. On her second visit she saw Tougas again and was given four prescriptions for CDS, again, signed by Myers.
Tanksley stated she saw Myers during her first visit but he did not write her a prescription for Oxycontin because she did not have her medical notes from her previous provider, however, he did reportedly write her a prescription for Oxycodone and Xanax at the time. On her next visit she said she was prescribed Oxycontin despite still not having her medical notes, according to the report.
She testified that she would spend $1,400 in cash per month for the prescriptions and would then triple that amount by selling what she didn't use.
Tanksley said she then started seeing Tougas but was aware Myers and Howell typically signed her prescriptions because Tougas could not.
Although she did not see Myers again he was still signing the medical notes in her chart and was signing every CDS prescription from July 23, 2013 to Jan. 1, 2014, according to her testimony.
OBNDD was contacted on April 8, 2014 by the office manager at Family 1st Clinic in Newcastle to tell them Myers said to contact him about the possible diversion of CDS. She told Myers that “an employee, John Jermaine Johnson, had obtained 13 fraudulent prescriptions for non-existing patients and she then faxed those to him.”
Following this, the bureau spoke with Myers about the fraudulent prescriptions. He confirmed they were from Family 1st Clinic, the signature on them was his, but he did not recognize any of the people the prescriptions were for as patients of the clinic.
Myers added that Johnson brought him the prescription and he signed them. He said Johnson would prepare the prescriptions and bring them to him for his signature, according to the report.
Agents spoke with Johnson who confirmed that he would fill out the prescriptions and slip the fraudulent ones in with other prescriptions and Myers would sign them.
Dr. Richard Brittingham was brought in to testify as an expert witness regarding the practice of pain management. He reportedly reviewed about 30 patient charts from the clinic and Family 1st Clinic and testified regarding the medical charts of four Roland clinic patients. In two, Brittingham said there was no evidence shown they were Myers' patients.
The first on the medical chart he evaluated was a patient of Howell’s. He noted in several instances there was no evidence that an examination had been performed but significant numbers of controlled substance were prescribed; and she had several different doctors during her course of care at the clinic, according to the report.
Brittingham described the care provided to this patient as “substandard.” “It appeared that the patient was simply prescribed multiple CDS on a recurrent basis without adequate clinical surveillance or supervision, and the absence of UA drug screens suggest a shoddy practice of medicine with little concern for minimizing the risk of addiction or diversion.”
The report states that this patient died at the age of 32 and her death certificate noted several controlled substances in her system at the time.
Brittingham's conclusion of the practitioners at the Roland clinic were “practicing substandard medicine and were using the term “pain clinic” as their title, but “pill mill” would be more appropriate.”
Dr. Myers Response
Myers describes himself as a civil rights activist, Baptist Medical Missionary, founder and president of the American Pain Institute (API); one of the leading advocates for chronic pain treatment in America and the only African American physician in southern Sequoyah County, and said he has been falsely accused and punished for the prescription drug practices of white physicians at the Wellness Clinic of Roland by the OBNDD.
“I have no desire to practice medicine in Oklahoma ever again. It is one of the most racist states that I have practiced in my life,” he said. “In my opinion this is a continuation of their discriminative practices against what I'm doing for chronic pain patients.”
Myers said he fights for the poor and disenfranchise and has worked with the poorest of the poor. He claims OBNDD is blaming him for the actions of all the medication prescribed by other doctors.
“The other doctors are responsible for their own work. They're trying to stick it all on me,” he added. “This is medical racial profiling.”
Myers said many white physicians come from Arkansas to write prescriptions in Oklahoma and claims it is a pattern, and that he has been targeted by the DEA. He also said there are articles to prove that authorities have been looking into him since 2006 for his activism for chronic pain patients, and that black physicians are over prosecuted by the justice department.
He explained that Oklahoma is his ancestral home - his parents grew up here and so did he. Myers said the reason he returned to Roland was to take care of his mother after his father died of a stroke. She died in November and now that he is being targeted by law enforcement he has no reason to stay in Oklahoma.
“The OBNDD doesn't want pain patients to be treated,” he said. “I'm not putting money in my pocket. I'm just trying to help the poor and disenfranchised.”
Myers emphasized that this is not a criminal case and he has not been arrested or charged with a criminal offense but is being treated like Al Capone, when other white doctors in the area have been arrested and charged multiple times.
He also explained that he has two DEA numbers, one for Mississippi and one for Oklahoma. He was told he needed one in Oklahoma even though he was practicing part time in the state.
On Myer's American Pain Institute website are a list of articles he listed as proof that the justice department has targeted him since 2006, including a letter to former Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn dated Oct. 27, 2006 from the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration.
In the letter it was noted that investigators of the DEA Tulsa visited Myers' Roland practice on Sept. 13, 2006, regarding Myers need to possess a DEA registration in Oklahoma even though he practices in Mississippi and Roland, and had a license in Mississippi already.
“DEA informed him that because he practiced medicine in Oklahoma. At the time of his inquiry to you (Senator Coburn), he had a DEA controlled substance registration in Mississippi, but did not have one for Oklahoma,” the letter stated. “DEA informed him that, because he practiced medicine in Oklahoma, he was required to have a DEA controlled substances registration in Oklahoma.”
The letter also noted that Myers applied and received a DEA controlled substance registration in Oklahoma, but still questioned authorities as to why he needed a DEA registration in multiple states when other practitioners practice in multiple states without having multiple registrations.
A check of the Arkansas State Medical Board website shows Friedl has an inactive license through Arkansas that expired on Dec. 31, 2011, and no Oklahoma licensed listed.
Howell also has an inactive license that was registered through the Oklahoma Medical Board that expired in January. The record shows a disciplinary action for Aug. 14, 2014 for a CDS violation and failure to maintain records.
Tougas is still listed as a fully licensed physician assistant in Oklahoma with an active license that expires March 31, 2016 and no disciplinary action listed.
Myers license is still active in Oklahoma and expires July 1, but he is not registered to dispense. His disciplinary history listed July 25, 2014 for narcotics violation/over prescribing and failure to maintain records, which was amended Aug. 22, 2014 for the same reasons.
Continuing to Fight
Myers is currently in Mississippi where he is working to rebuild a clinic and working with the community health center. He said he would continue to fight for the poor and pain patients because his motivation has always been to help people, but he has no desire to be in a racist environment.
“I'm not angry. I forgive them for what they've done, but I don't want to work in Oklahoma anymore,” he said.
April 23-30, 2016