Texas finally takes first step in regulating 'pill mills'


Clinics dish out powerful pain medications without real physician supervision or even a physical exam

September 6, 2010

When it comes to pain management physicians, it is not enough to find a 'board certified' doctor. Multiple boards grant that label and many are not very strict in their standards.

What should you ask before selecting a pain management doctor? Click here to read my special report.

There is another big problem in the pain management field, the so-called 'pill mills.' There are over 200 so-called pain clinics in Houston alone, and many of them are 'supervised' by absentee physicians who are rarely on site, and dispense powerful drugs without a physical exam.

For years these pain clinics have not been regulated. These unregulated, unsupervised clinics result in untold addictions, complications and even deaths each year.

The Texas Medical Board has finally stepped forward to start regulating these rogue pain clinics, with new regulations that take effect in September 2010. The new regulations are defined in Texas Administrative Code Title 22, Part 9, Chapter 195. Under the new regulations, pain clinics have to register and obtain a certificate from the Texas Medical Board or they will be shut down.

All pain clinics must be owned by physicians who:

∙ Are on site at least one-third of the time. 

∙ Have never been disciplined for handling controlled substances.

∙ Review at least one-third of the patient files. While these new regulations should generate some improvement, patients still need to do their own research when seeking treatment in the pain management field.

Additional Resources

Painter Law Firm article on checking pain management doctor qualifications

Houston Chronicle article (9/3/10)

Health Leaders article (9/2/10)

Texas Medical Board rules (scroll to Texas Administrative Code Title 22, Part 9, Chapter 195)

Robert Painter

Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.


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