Indicted doctor fired from Bonita Springs pain clinic, operators refute community concerns

— A month after a doctor was indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges in Jacksonville and then fired from a Bonita Springs pain clinic, community concern hasn't waned.

Lee County sheriff's deputies continue to patrol the parking lot of Southwest Florida Medical Solutions and neighboring offices in the Sunshine Professional Center on Bonita Beach Road, keeping an eye on the pain clinic's patients and practices.

But the clinic's owners and manager say they have nothing to hide.

Lee deputies have checked the area around the parking lot at 9240 Bonita Beach Road a dozen times in the past month, but no arrests have been made.

In late October, the Daily News reported that in the prior 10 months, there had been at least 18 drug-related arrests and more than 550 checks of the parking lot by Lee deputies. The newspaper report came days after a doctor who worked part-time at the clinic was indicted in Jacksonville in a drug conspiracy case.

"As far as we're concerned, nothing has changed," Tony Schall, spokesman for the Lee County Sheriff's Office, said of the past month.

Neighbors say they still see patients from the clinic loitering.

"The last (Daily News) article didn't shut them down, but it increased my patients' concern," said Dr. Mark Montgomery, an ear nose and throat doctor whose office is in the same building as the pain management clinic.

Clinic owners and managers, who had declined interviews for prior Daily News stories, agreed to talk this past week.

Kristen Touhey, one of the clinic's owners, said Dr. Anthony Posca was terminated the day the Jacksonville indictment was released in mid-October.

"The indictment doesn't necessarily mean that he is guilty," Touhey said. "But, it would not be good for our practice."

Touhey said she was shocked to learn of Posca's questionable past.

"But, if you do something wrong, you're going to get in trouble for it," she said.

Neither Posca nor one of his attorneys, Bernard Cassidy, was available for comment on the termination of Posca by the Bonita Springs clinic.

Touhey added that other than bad press, Posca's indictment hasn't negatively affected the business.

Posca — along with four other Jacksonville-based physicians, an owner of three Jacksonville pain clinics and several employees — face charges alleging they ran a multimillion-dollar pill-mill operation. Overall, the case alleges drug conspiracy, aiding and abetting the distribution of Oxycodone resulting in death and money laundering from December 2009 to July 2010.

Posca joined the Bonita Springs clinic in July of this year.

To read the indictment, click on documents below.

"Nothing has changed," the clinic's office manager, Eric Holland, said about Posca no longer being at the clinic since the indictment.

"We're still a reputable business. I have a great relationship with (Lee sheriff's) Capt. (Kathy) Rairden," Holland said.

"We will always welcome law enforcement in any one of our parking lots," added Touhey, alluding to other clinics, including in Miami, Orlando, Port Charlotte and Fort Myers. "They're here to protect the safety and well-being of the citizens."

Though Rairden and Holland exchanged emails earlier this year in which Holland referred to the patrolling as "harassment," Touhey said the clinic operators have maintained an excellent relationship with the Lee Sheriff's Office.

Touhey confirmed that the clinic has hired a man to stand either at the entrance of the office building or at the entrance to the clinic.

Montgomery said he has seen the man, standing outside the office building's main doors.

"We still call (deputies) all the time," Montgomery said. "Patients call me and ask, 'is it safe?'"

Holland said other tenants of the complex are judging the clinic's patients, who are "blue-collar workers," by their looks.

"They're lower-income guys," he said. "Doesn't mean they don't have the right to see a doctor."

Holland noted that health officials have gone through the clinic and approved its operation.

In April, the Southwest Florida Medical Solutions website touted a treatment using "opiod therapy" and said medications were dispensed at the clinic, which now can't be done under a new Florida law. By June, the language was changed on the type of treatment provided and the reference was removed to dispensing medications there. To compare the two versions of its website, click on documents below.

"Anything we do in here is regulated, controlled," Holland said. "Anything in the beginning is a misunderstanding because our patients were being profiled by the neighbors."

Touhey said the clinic and its owners are in full compliance with the law.

" I have seven AHCA (Agency for Health Care Administration) licensed clinics," Touhey said of the certification necessary for a non-physician-owned medical center.

Also, the physicians at Southwest Florida Medical Solutions, despite their short tenure at the clinic, are operating under medical licenses and Drug Enforcement Agency licenses. The DEA license is required to prescribe controlled substances, like Oxycodone.Eventually, the clinic intends to add other pain management services, such as massage therapy, Touhey said, but currently only offers medication for treatment. She added that the other locations, however, do offer other services such as massage therapy, hydro therapy, acupuncture and trigger-point therapy — a localized medicinal treatment injected into the site of the pain.

"We do prescribe narcotics," said Dr. Heather Argyle, a 30-year veteran OB/GYN who works at the pain clinic. "We heavily encourage our patients to take the non-narcotic medications, and we also encourage them to do massage and physical therapies. Every patient that comes here gets a booklet on stretching exercises."

The city of Bonita Springs approved the license for the clinic as a medical practice, but City Attorney Audrey Vance lauds the law enforcement presence.

"Anything done as far as a federal indictment, state indictment, or city enforcement that protects citizens and property, we are thrilled," Vance said.

© 2011 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 15

tommyboy18088 writes:

This clinic should be shut down by the state and the doctors working there should lose their licenses. An ob/gyne doctor working in a pain clinic. What are her qualifications as a "pain specialist"? None, I bet. Stop the sham. Enforce the law! Why are there lines around the block with low lifes in the parking lot. Take a guess.

TheLissack writes:

Perhaps the article is misfocused -- could it be Dr Montgomery's patients who are the problem? Why is he calling deputies all the time? Are his patients demanding pain killers? safety? or access to the indicted Doctor?

Seems to me that if the clinic is providing security (as described in the article) and that "nothing has changed" (as quoted from the Sheriff's office) then perhaps the problem lies not with the pain clinic but with one of its neighbors such as the often calling deputies Dr Montgomery

TheLissack writes:

Not that I know anything re the practices at 9420 but there must be a reason why the good Dr is the one phoning for deputies

Company144 writes:

There is NO MONEY dispensing narcotic pain pills to clients of a pain clinic! The real money is in the INJECTIBLES! For those who think these clinics are "Pill Mills", they are being led down the path by the people who want to keep their jobs as "enforcers". It's bad enough that pharmicists have self appointed themselves as "Pill Police". If a patient has a perscription from a licensed doctor for pain medication, that scipt should be filled and not be subjected to scruitnity by others. Doctors are here to get their patients out of pain, that's their main job. Don't loose sight of that.

light writes:

in response to tommyboy18088:

This clinic should be shut down by the state and the doctors working there should lose their licenses. An ob/gyne doctor working in a pain clinic. What are her qualifications as a "pain specialist"? None, I bet. Stop the sham. Enforce the law! Why are there lines around the block with low lifes in the parking lot. Take a guess.

It is unlikely that the owners didn't know what was going on. How could they not have seen or known of the people waiting in line around the doctors office.

The owners and all the doctors in the office should go to prison for conspiracy.

It is our children, families, and community that this clinic is hurting.

TheLissack writes:

Injectibles? Like Botox? Which happens at offices such as the always happy to call the deputies Montgomery?

ChilonofSparta writes:

I'm not a physician, but I play one on TV.

No, but seriously, we, as a society, want physicians to be free to prescribe the drugs their patients need to heal and to relieve their pain and other maladies.

At the same time, however, we, as a society, do not want physicians prescribing drugs that have no function other than temporarily to stanch their patients' addictive cravings.

The clash between those two principles drives this criminal, legal, moral, and policy issue.

We really do not have a good answer to this dilemma.

Having said that, though, when a physician prescribes hundreds of thousands of pain pills to a handful of patients over a few years period, something tells me that healing isn't that physician's principal concern.

naplesbest1 writes:

Why does it appear that there is more than one problem office at 9420 Bonita Beach rd?

Sounds like Kelly Road has moved 20 miles north

SuninPisces writes:

There are law suits currently being levied against Purdue, the pharmacy responsible for making Oxycontin, or Oxydodone (same chemical). The reason is it is sooo addictive, that not only do people need to keep on taking it (creating more business in office visits and drug sales under the guise of "pain management"), but at least in West Virginia and some parts of Virginia, its introduction caused shootings and breakins to pharmacies from addicted patients who couldn't wait and needed more.

The following is an interesting article that I believe makes the case covering all of the nuances surrounding the issues.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/...

Hillbilly heroin: the painkiller abuse wrecking lives in West Virginia

Think again. A true pain clinic would engage more in spinal blocks, corrective surgery, physical therapy - not massage therapy. The police would do well to consult a second and third opinion from medical pain management specialists not engaging in sole use of oxy and maybe they would get somewhere.

(I watch medical tv too)

NaplesSparky writes:

in response to Company144:

There is NO MONEY dispensing narcotic pain pills to clients of a pain clinic! The real money is in the INJECTIBLES! For those who think these clinics are "Pill Mills", they are being led down the path by the people who want to keep their jobs as "enforcers". It's bad enough that pharmicists have self appointed themselves as "Pill Police". If a patient has a perscription from a licensed doctor for pain medication, that scipt should be filled and not be subjected to scruitnity by others. Doctors are here to get their patients out of pain, that's their main job. Don't loose sight of that.

I 100% agree with you on the pharmacists. Where do they get the right to decide what valid prescriptions to fill? But I 100% disagree that there is no money in dispensing these pills. Ask the "cash-only" Wooley's Pharmacy how much money they make off their half-a-- compounded oxycontin in a day.

ljfroloff writes:

I had the displeasure of giving someone a ride to this exact clinic about a year ago, before it became so famous. When I was there I it was like a Hollywood casting call for shady, indoor-sunglass wearing, story fabricating lowlifes. I'll never forget the experience.
They had security at that time too. A guy kept telling me if I was going to wait in my car for the "patient", I had to park FAR OUT in the parking lot so other tenants didnt see me as loitering. I'm like "First of all theres about 100 people (lowlifes) in that little office up there, so I'm down here in my car, now you tell me to move out of the shade and over to the corner of the parking lot?" Unreal.
Extremely criminal organization, and the neighbors have to have their normal patients walk through the halls with these losers, and THATS why they're calling the police. They want them OUT!
So should you.

Iseeyouon41 writes:

I hear dr kaskie is back..oh boy more sex for drugs at your your favorite md's office

Company144 writes:

in response to ljfroloff:

I had the displeasure of giving someone a ride to this exact clinic about a year ago, before it became so famous. When I was there I it was like a Hollywood casting call for shady, indoor-sunglass wearing, story fabricating lowlifes. I'll never forget the experience.
They had security at that time too. A guy kept telling me if I was going to wait in my car for the "patient", I had to park FAR OUT in the parking lot so other tenants didnt see me as loitering. I'm like "First of all theres about 100 people (lowlifes) in that little office up there, so I'm down here in my car, now you tell me to move out of the shade and over to the corner of the parking lot?" Unreal.
Extremely criminal organization, and the neighbors have to have their normal patients walk through the halls with these losers, and THATS why they're calling the police. They want them OUT!
So should you.

what you just said here is really disturbing. you say get them out, they have no earthly purpose being there other than to get their narcotics. just where is it that you'd suggest these people who really are in need go? no regular doctor will write a narcotic prescription, they're too afraid of being hunted down by the pill police. people can't go to the emergency room to get their pills, and walk in clinics won't perscribe them either. so where are these people supposed to go? i'm talking about people in real pain, that need these types of medications to function. I happen to be one of those people. should i be told to leave as well? you too could be one of those people in the blink of an eye. cancer, and all it's deadly forms can create severe pain like I have.
so don't be an idiot and pretend to know what you're talking about, just stay out of this and tell your like minded friends to stay the hell out of a doctor's business with his patients.

ljfroloff writes:

Get off the dope honey. That's all I can tell you.

absolutsti writes:

Why can't we just legalize medicinal marijuana for chronic pain?

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