Local pain doctors swamped with patient referrals

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Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE)- Pain doctors are dealing with an influx of patients now that Dr. Michael Cozzi is banned from practicing.

The state suspended his medical license for 90 days while the DEA and attorney general investigate allegations of over-prescribing. As a result, more than 1,700 patients are in need of a new pain doctor.

Summit Pain Management is one of a dozen pain care centers in the Fort Wayne area. Since Cozzi’s arrest on March 22, the clinic has received more than 250 new patient referrals.

Matthew Cavacini, Practice Manager at Summit Pain Management, said the staff members are doing their best to manage the new referrals.

“We go through a process of reviewing them, going through their medical records, and looking to see if they have any other issues,” said Cavacini.

The clinic prioritized the patients by their risk level. So far, the office has seen about 12 of Dr. Cozzi’s patients. Most of them have pain pumps.

“Approximately 60 of his patients had pumps that need to be refilled,” said Cavacini. “We’ve taken those patients first to make sure they’re not going to miss the refill date. Those patients are in a little more danger than [others] because they’re at risk for rapid withdrawal and death.”

After dealing with the most critical patients, the clinic will go back and see what other patients they can take on.

“We’re trying to make sure we take they right approach and treat the patients appropriately,” he said. “We want to make sure the others get the help they need through their withdrawal and counseling for opioid-related issues.”

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