Closure of pain-only practices impacts thousands of patients

Lisa Wilson has chronic pain in her hips and back and says she’s in agony every day.

Months ago, Wilson discussed a procedure with her doctor to alleviate her suffering. Weeks after that conversation, her pain clinic closed.

"I was very, very frustrated. Very upset. I was in a lot of pain," said Wilson.

Lisa Wilson

Since then, Wilson says her pain has only gotten worse.

"Right now I can barely bend over," said Wilson. "I can barely get four hours of sleep."

Wilson was a patient of Advanced Pain Management. In 2020, the independent pain-only practice shut down operations across Wisconsin.

Advanced Pain Management’s ambulatory surgical centers and clinics struggled in 2020. First, came a temporary halt in elective procedures due to the coronavirus. Then came a one million dollar federal lawsuit settlement to resolve claims the company paid kickbacks for referrals and ran unnecessary lab tests.

A petition for Chapter 128 receivership was filed in September in Milwaukee County Circuit Court by APM Wisconsin MSO, a firm that services Advanced Pain Management, impacting several locations.

Consumer attorney Nathan DeLadurantey says a receivership is one alternative to bankruptcy.

"It’s all about wrapping up the business," said DeLadurantey.

Nathan DeLadurantey

Records indicate that doctors at Advanced Pain Management locations saw tens-of-thousands of patients in 2020. Some of them have reached out to Contact 6 to ask for help getting their medical records and finding their doctors.

Dr. Thomas Stauss was among the founding physicians of Advanced Pain Management and treated its patients for more than 20 years.

"It has been very, very difficult, and challenging," said Stauss of the closures.

Dr. Thomas Stauss

Stauss and physicians from other Advanced Pain Management locations have formed three new practices, which are now open. Stauss says they have been notifying patients.

"It was very, very difficult to reestablish lines of communication," said Stauss.

Stauss says that’s partly due to a strained relationship between physicians and their former management company. He says there have been issues accessing medical records, but the new clinics are moving forward.

"We do have lines of communication open, we're seeing patients, we're scheduling," said Stauss.

The new clinics operated by former Advanced Pain Management physicians are as follows:

  • Pain Physicians of Wisconsin SC ppwhealth.com 262-297-7246 Locations in Greenfield, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Kenosha and Oconomowoc
  • Locations in Greenfield, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Kenosha and Oconomowoc
  • Wisconsin Spine and Pain SC wispineandpain.com 920-204-6758 Locations in Waukesha, West Bend, Sheboygan and Green Bay
  • Locations in Waukesha, West Bend, Sheboygan and Green Bay
  • Advanced Pain Treatment SC https://www.aptpain.com 608-291-4866 Locations in Madison, Beaver Dam and Dodgeville
  • Locations in Madison, Beaver Dam and Dodgeville

Lisa was able to contact her Advanced Pain Management doctor at his new clinic. Her procedure is scheduled for February.

Much of Advanced Pain Management is under the control of court-appointed receiver, Michael Polsky, who is liquidating the company. He says there have been no interruptions to physician or patient access to medical records. Patients can request their records here: https://www.apmhealth.com/

Response from Michael Polsky, court-appointed receiver for APM Wisconsin MSO, LLC and certain related entities:

Physician and patient access to medical records has been available since the Receivership was filed. There have been no interruptions to either the physicians’ access to patient medical records or the patients’ ability to obtain copies of medical records since the date the APM MSO Receivership was filed. To provide full-time assistance and make sure the records continue to be available, the Receiver contracted with a professional, third-party record custodian – Ciox – to respond to patient records requests. Information on how to obtain records has been and will continue to be on the APM web site, and CIOX is working hard to be responsive and timely to all requests for records. Any inquiries the APM MSO or the Receiver’s office receive from patients looking for records are sent directly to Ciox for a prompt response.

Response from John Wirth, court-appointed receiver for the assets of Advanced Pain Management, S.C. (APM SC), an independent physician group that owned clinics:

The care and well-being of patients has been my foremost concern since being appointed on October 26.

APM SC did not have enough money to operate because of disputes with the MSO and the MSO’s lender.

To make sure APM SC’s financial problems do not interfere with patient care, I quickly reached agreements with the doctors, allowing the doctors and their staffs to open new clinics…

The doctors have published notice of their new practices and have been attempting to reach patients by phone, email and other methods. Unfortunately, when people do not recognize a phone number or address, they often do not answer calls or read written notices. 

Appointments can be made at the doctors’ new clinics. Phone numbers are above.

Records continue to be controlled by the MSO receiver, not be me or the doctors. We are trying to get them moved to the new clinics, although considering the volume and the complexity of computer medical records, that is complicated. However, any patient or the patient’s authorized physician can retrieve records by one of the methods on the APM website (apmhealth.org). Patients have found that requests by email, mail or facsimile have been fulfilled.

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There are no Advanced Pain Management surgery centers that remain open.

Pain Centers of Franklin, LLC closed in August 2019. The following locations closed in March 2020:

  • Access Medical Center LLC
  • United Medical Center LLC
  • Pain Centers of Wisconsin – Appleton, LLC
  • Pain Centers of Wisconsin – Fox Point, LLC
  • Pain Centers of Wisconsin Sauk Prairie, LLC
  • Pain Centers of Wisconsin – West Bend, LLC
  • The following entities closed between September 22, 2020 and October 31, 2020:
  • Wisconsin Health Center, LLC
  • Surgi Center of Greater Madison, LLC
  • Sheboygan Medical Center, LLC
  • Pain Centers of Wisconsin – Kenosha, LLC

The Advanced Pain Management surgery centers in Waukesha, Beaver Dam, Fort Atkinson and Green Bay are not included in the receivership proceedings but are also closed.

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