Dr. Hindman operated Foundation Medical Clinic in Deer Park, Washington, specializing in family practice medicine and pain management, and a counseling program known as Celebrate Recovery for patients who were abusing their prescription narcotics and/or were using illegal controlled substances.
Hindman was charged in a 24-count indictment with prescribing Schedule II Controlled Substances from 2001 to 2005 for other than a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice and health care fraud, based on the issuance of prescriptions for Oxycontin, Oxycodone, and Methadone to patients who purportedly sought controlled substances for pain management but who instead were using the drugs to feed their drug addictions and for other reasons.
Now this is the epitome of the evil the government is doing against good, caring doctors just like I was. Here they even admit that the patients came in purporting to have a pain problem. There is no way this doctor should have been found guilty. He was simply doing his job. The people using false pretenses to get drugs are the ones breaking the law. Dr. Hindman was also conscientious enough to be helping those he knew to be addicts, but having the Celebrate Recovery program. I also had a program available to the people in my area which I called Take Back Your Life. However, no one availed themselves of it. When I identified a person doctor-hopping or drug seeking and offered them help but refused to accept them as patients, I never saw them again. Dr. Hindman at least had an ongoing program which people attended. So by attacking him with criminal charges, the government not only removed a good doctor, but took away help from admitted addicts. SHAME!!!
Now these facts were reported negatively by the press, with one article stating: “A Deer Park physician and his aide are accused of giving known drug abusers prescription pain pills, including oxycodone and methadone, with the requirement they attend “recovery meetings” at a church.” That has rather negative connotations.
Then Dr. Hindman was charged with the death of two of the patients, dubbed by the media as “drug addicts”. This charge, if convicted, would cause him to fact a minimum of 20 years in prison.
The sensationalist media continued with: “As part of the same scheme, the defendants cheated Medicaid and insurance companies out of $2.5 million.” Now this was based on the insurance billing for the visits made to the office by these patients. But Dr. Hindman did not know they were fake. So the office charges were legitimate. However, this is another way the government makes money—charge physicians restitution for supposed “fraud”. I’ll bet the US Attorney gets a piece of that pie as well.
In 2008, Dr. Hindman pleaded guilty to the criminal charges. Who wouldn’t, looking at a mandatory sentence of 20 years? I did, even when I had done nothing criminal. So I know exactly how that went down. But that doesn’t mean he was guilty. He was just trying to save himself from financial ruin and probable loss in the court anyway. I don’t blame him a bit. And just because he plead guilty doesn’t mean he was. At least one-quarter of the people in prison are innocent people who took a plea rather than face a trial and a much worse sentence.
On April 27, 2009, Dr. Hindman was sentenced to nine months in prison followed by three years probation, 240 hours of community service and pay restitution totaling over $6,800 to Medicaid, Premera Blue Cross, and other insurances. So does the plea agreement make sense? You bet it does. But what we as a country need to do is reverse these cases where doctors have been criminalized by abuse of power by the Justice Department through wrongful action on a clause of the CSA meant to exempt physicians from just such charges.
To support my evaluation of this case, here are two former patients of Dr. Hindman who responded to the spurious newspaper articles:
“I was one of Dr. Hindman’s patients. I was also in the weekly Celebrate Recovery program. Knowing Dr. Hindman first hand, and knowing how incredibly compassionate and caring he is, really saddens me to find out he had to go to prison over this. I always felt like he and Keith had my best interest in mind. We were given regular drug tests, & the instant mine showed marijuana I was told that I’d either have to stop the pain meds, or go into a much stricter monthly plan. My meds were much more controlled & I was only allowed a 1 week supply at a time. The weekly meetings were incredibly beneficial for me, & helped me not only quit other illegal substances, but also deeply strengthen my relationship with Jesus. These were full fledged NA meetings every week, with random UA’s and a great deal of counseling. Having a doctor with so much compassion & being willing to provide a medication that was so helpful, meant the world to me. I am deeply saddened that some people chose to abuse their prescriptions or sell them, but that was their choice, not Dr. Hindman’s. He is a gentle, God Fearing man with a huge heart. I will forever be grateful to him for all of the support, education, and compassion he provided. God Bless you Dr. Hindman.” J.A.
“The media neglects to say that the reason they held church services for patients was for their benefit if they did not pass their drug test or if they suspected a client was not forthright with them. One complaint and they had them in their office following a program. A Dr. cannot control what a client does when they leave his office. Look at all the priests we believed in and now they are in the news daily as child molesters. We just can’t determine who a person really is with just a half hour visit in an office now can we? Dr. Hindman and Featherkile wanted to help people and they did. If they are being held responsible for everything their patients did outside of the office, then just think who else should be in the media as not following their clients around making sure they behave themselves. Therapists (who don’t turn in volatile behavior), priests (who keep confessions private) and all those who hold information so they won’t violate the law.” J.S.