A 30-year-old woman's intake of highly addictive painkillers went up 4,000 percent after her first visit with longtime Oklahoma physician assistant Michael Hume.
The woman, diagnosed with cervical disease and arthritis despite no testing or supporting documentation, would lose 15 percent of her body weight while under Hume's care.
Hume, licensed in Oklahoma since 1980, now is accused of recklessly prescribing thousands of powerful painkillers and other controlled substances without keeping adequate records or offering any kind of treatment to those under his care.
He is expected to go before the state medical board Thursday for a disciplinary hearing.
Investigators with the Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision said that Vista Medical Center, the clinic where Hume worked, did not accept insurance and that the facility's owner paid medical staff based on the number of patients seen each day.
A complaint filed Jan. 2 against Hume shows that he continued to prescribe large amounts of painkillers, muscle relaxers and powerful anti-anxiety medications after an initial meeting with medical board investigators in September 2011. The document also details Hume's relationship with 10 other patients.
“After the meeting with (Hume), his prescribing habits, medical documentation and medical care did not change,” the complaint states.
Hume also is accused of rarely ordering drug tests for his patients, who are often asked to do so to prove they are ingesting the pills and not selling them on the street, medical board investigators allege.
He and his supervising physician, Dr. William Martin Valuck, no longer work at the clinic.
Valuck, who served several years in federal prison before coming to Oklahoma, has not had any action taken against him by the state medical board.
Attempts to contact Hume to comment on this story were not successful.
Owner denies allegations
Pat Reynolds, the owner of Vista Medical Center, 3700 S Western Ave., is mentioned in the medical board's complaint against Hume.
“The Vista Medical Center is owned and operated by Pat Reynolds, a non-physician, who compensates Defendant based solely on his production. At the time of the incidents in question, Defendant treated approximately 37 patients per day,” according to the complaint.
Reynolds said that information is not accurate.
“I don't have anything to do with them — they left last October,” Reynolds said. “I'm in the facility and real estate business.”
Reynolds said he did not pay Hume or Valuck and that he did not serve as their supervisor. Reynolds said he did not know how many prescriptions Hume was filling.
“I would think if there was a problem there, the medical board would know or the DEA or the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics would know,” Reynolds said.
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.
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.”