1. Board Certified or Fellowship Trained Doctors
2. Other treatments than writing prescriptions
3. Individuals must make an appointment
4. Mostly Insured Patients
5. Use of “Pain Contracts” and other Methods of Surveillance
Comprehensive pain centers are considerably different from “pill mills”. Unfortunately the two get linked together in the public’s mind. Pill mills are pain clinics that are predominantly in the singular business of providing narcotic prescriptions. Because the country is in the midst of a narcotic prescription epidemic, pill mills have received a bad rap, and deservedly so. Unfortunately though, legitimate pain centers have been dragged down into that public perception as well.
Pain management centers typically have fellowship trained or board certified doctors who have undergone significant training in both medication management and interventional pain treatment. This is usually substantially different from pill mills, who often use physicians without this extensive pain training.
Pill mills typically just dole out prescriptions. Pain management centers are different in that they typically provide additional therapies such as physical therapy, chiropractic, and interventional procedures.
At a typical pill mill, individuals are usually able to just walk in rather than making an appointment. At pain centers that are more legitimate, however, people need to call and make appointments. Typically if it’s new appointment with a doctor’s office referral, medical records get sent over from the referring office. This takes more time than a walk in appointment provides.
At typical comprehensive pain management centers, the patients have medical insurance and utilize it for their care. Pill mills often work outside the insurance system. This means either having patients with no insurance paying cash, or having patients with insurance simply not using it.
Narcotic agreements are used by comprehensive pain management centers, usually known as “pain contracts”. These agreements help make sure individuals comply with such treatment protocols as urine drug screening, pill counts, and pharmacy board computer prescription surveillance.
This protocol trio is an effective combination that assists in preventing diversion. It has been documented that over 20% of individuals will divert their pain prescriptions, and that diversion spans all ethnic and socieconomic groups. Pill mills may not utilize these surveillance tactics, which help deter the rising narcotic abuse epidemic in America.
These factors together separate pill mills from integrated pain management centers. By pulling together all of these qualities and services, the more modern pain centers can actually assist people to decrease the amount of narcotics being taken. This may decrease the rising epidemic of narcotic abuse, and also help shift some of the medications being written to the nonnarcotic variety.