FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Indiana Medical Licensing Board today accepted an agreed summary suspension of a Fort Wayne pain clinic doctor’s license to practice medicine.
On Monday, Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office filed a petition to suspend Dr. William Hedrick of the Centers for Pain Relief in Northern Indiana for what it called “inappropriate and dangerous prescribing practices.” Hedrick agreed to the suspension prior to the board meeting which was held in Indianapolis today and the board voted to accept the agreement.
Hedrick is now suspended from practicing medicine until the next Medical Licensing Board meeting on Jan. 24, while the Attorney General’s Office works on drafting a formal licensing complaint. Once a complaint is filed the board has the authority to determine what, if any, disciplinary action will be taken.
“Today’s emergency suspension protects patients while the state works diligently to gather further evidence and file a formal licensing complaint,” said Gabrielle Owens, Deputy Director of the Attorney General’s Licensing Enforcement and Homeowner Protection Unit. “In this case, the physician’s high prescribing rate of pain killers and dangerous drug mixing practices raised red flags. It is our goal to protect patients and ensure a physician’s actions are not adding to the illegal supply of narcotics.”
Owens said numerous patients have died from multiple drug toxicity while in Hedrick’s care and these types of aggressive prescription practices are dangerous.
Since January, the Attorney General’s Office has filed numerous licensing actions against physicians for overprescribing with several cases involving deaths. The growing number of overprescribing incidents has resulted in the creation of the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force recently launched by Zoeller. The group is made up of state legislators, law enforcement, health officials, pharmacists, state and local agencies and education providers. Members will focus on education, treatment and recovery, prescription drug monitoring, prescription disposal and take-back and enforcement. The full task force will publish a report of its findings and recommendations.