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Oklahoma physician assistant accused of improperly prescribing painkillers, medications

by Andrew Knittle and Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: March 2, 2013 at 12:13 am •  Published: March 4, 2013

Supervising physician

Valuck, 70, Hume's supervising physician, never has been disciplined as a doctor or had his license suspended or revoked, but the Michigan native did serve five years in federal prison.

Valuck, who also has practiced in Texas and Ohio, was convicted in late 2000 of money laundering, wire fraud and devising a scheme to defraud investors of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He was sentenced to 70 months in prison.

Court records show that Valuck, who at one point operated an ambulance company in Texas, solicited money from other doctors and medical professionals, promising them high returns in vague bank trading program.

In addition to serving prison time, Valuck was ordered to pay more than $600,000 in restitution. Federal prison records show that he was released from prison on April 15, 2005.

Since 1977, Hume has worked in about 26 clinics and hospitals in Oklahoma.

Since December 2009, he has been supervised by eight physicians, four of whom have been disciplined by the medical board for over-prescribing.

Dr. John Tatom, one of Hume's past supervisors, said he had no reason to think Hume over-prescribed while working in 2009 at Arbuckle Memorial Hospital in Sulphur.

“He did a good job of taking care of people, and there was no reason to believe he over-prescribed that I ever heard,” Tatom said.

Tatom does not have any disciplinary history with the medical board.

Monitoring over-prescribers

Mark Woodward, spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, said neither Hume nor Valuck have been cited by the agency.

Like the state medical board, the bureau can take administrative action against medical professionals who are also required to be registered with the state agency to write prescriptions for controlled drugs like painkillers.

Woodward was tight-lipped about cases involving doctors or other medical professionals accused of over-prescribing, citing a need to protect ongoing investigations.

Last year, Woodward said that doctors and other medical professionals are playing a major role in the state's prescription medication crisis.

He said a doctor “who looks the other way or is known for being lax when writing prescriptions” can attract patients from hundreds of miles away.

Woodward said his agency has observed pill seekers from Texas, Arkansas and Kansas come to Oklahoma solely to go to the doctor.

He said some clinics have lines that form before the start of business.

“If a doctor is known to kind of look the other way ... or if they're known for writing prescriptions without asking too many questions ... word gets around in these circles,” Woodward said. “It's a big concern when people are coming from Amarillo or Wichita Falls or Fort Smith to get prescription drugs, but it's not uncommon for people to put hundreds of miles on their cars just to get their drugs.”

by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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