June 25, 2009
President Barrack Obama
Dear Mr. President:
I am asking you to intervene in the DEA war against doctors who treat pain. Pain is the one reason patients come to doctors more than any other. Have you ever had pain? I’ve had occasional pain from sacroiliitis and bursitis. When an attack occurs I can understand how my patients feel. I’m lucky my pain goes away and I am generally pain free. My patients have chronic pain. It never goes away. In addition to their pain they have to constantly live with the fear that their doctor will be taken away because of the government attacks. I am one such doctor living with the fear of government attack. But just as Rosie Parks wouldn’t move to the back of the bus because her feet hurt, I won’t budge in my convictions because my patients hurt. Rosie Parks made it possible for you to be President today. Hopefully my actions will be as important someday in the treatment of pain in Virginia and elsewhere in this nation.
I am a felon for healthcare. I pled guilty to one felony count Medicare/Medicaid fraud February, 2008. I am guilty of helping patients heal, putting people on disability back to work, and saving the government millions of dollars. I lost my license to practice medicine in May, 2008. I applied for its reinstatement in October, 2008 and achieved reinstatement on Feb 13, 2009. I immediately applied for my DEA certificate on that same day. It has now been 4 ½ months, and I still don’t have my certificate. Supposedly it is going to take a waiver from the Attorney General to get my certificate. For some reason, the law states that being excluded from Medicare/Medicaid means that the DEA certificate is automatically not issuable. I do not know why one situation precludes the other. Why should billing fraud, which every doctor in this country could be found guilty of, mean that a doctor cannot prescribe medications needed by patients that are not even involved in Medicare or Medicaid?
After my license was rescinded last year, my patients were unable to find a doctor. Other doctors would not take them because 1. They were self-pay/Medicare/Medicaid patients or 2. They were patients with pain. As they ran out of their pain meds that I had written for them, a doctor came to my rescue. She is still working with me to help write the scripts for controlled drugs that I cannot write. Even though I have asked the DEA to tell me if there is anything wrong with our arrangement, the local DEA officer refuses to give me a response. He continues to say “It is under investigation.” The investigation includes DEA officers traveling all over Southwest Virginia, going to pharmacies looking for scripts for controlled drugs that I have supposedly written. I have told them that any scripts I have signed (only one of which I know about) were simple mistakes, but they seem to be determined to build a case against me. I anticipate any day they will roll in to my office to arrest me for something. I am not the only physician that treats pain in Southwest Virginia that they have attacked. Just this January they rescinded the DEA certificate of a 76 y/o physician in a neighboring town, probably in hopes of closing him down.
The DEA should be investigating criminals selling drugs and making drugs, not doctors that are writing legitimate pain medications for legitimate patients. As a former US Attorney once said at a seminar, “The reason they go after doctors is because that’s where the money is and the guns aren’t.” Well, I don’t have either. But I do have an endorsement by God to do his work helping the poor and the hurting. God has been taking out of our government, and we are going to pay the price as a nation. I am ready to meet the devil in our government face to face. With God’s help I will either succeed in my endeavor, or I will join my Lord. I intend, upon the attack on my office or me, to begin a hunger strike. Whether I am in jail or sitting on the stairs of the US Congress, I will proclaim the injustice done to the poor and hurting in this country.
I ask you to end the persecution of my patients and me by the US government. The Attorney General can waive the law that prevents me from getting my DEA certificate. I am asking you to use your executive privilege to request the Attorney General to reinstate my DEA certificate for schedule 2-5 medications. I request that you reevaluate the mission of the DEA and correct the abuse of power that they have used in their attacks on doctors. And I request that you work toward changing Medicare/Medicaid laws that prevent patients from getting care. The link with the DEA certificate is one problem. Also the linking of organizations receiving government money not allowing them to work with doctors excluded from Medicare/Medicaid prevents my patients from having tests run at our area hospital. One patient is now dying. Her test to identify her lung cancer was refused at a hospital because I sent them an order for Dr. Schultz, my associate.
I also want to inform you of a challenge I presented to my Congressman, the Honorable Rick Boucher. I have developed a program that ends disease, gets people back to work and saves money. Instead of bankrupting the country with an insurance program that supports only the insurance industry, pharmaceutical industry and the AMA, I challenge the government to give me 100 patients, pay for the treatments I recommend, both conventional and alternative, and after one year, compare my costs with costs of 100 patients of a conventional doctor. I also challenge you to run the same comparison with the 3 other medical systems not used in the conventional medical system—homeopathy, chiropracty, and naturopathy. I’m sure there are doctors out there that would be happy to demonstrate the healing nature of these systems compared to the sickness of our current system.
I also have a program for the uninsured that would solve that problem. I presented the program to a seminar in 1996 in Washington about the uninsured problem. At that time I believe there were 15 million uninsured Americans. The response from the Congressman heading the seminar was “How would the insurance companies make money?” It would appear that helping the three biggest lobbyists in DC is still the main concern of the government. How about looking into more innovative but healthful alternatives such as mine?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda Cheek, MD
Supporter of the persecuted patient