Eastern WA Pain Clinic to Close - Practitioners Treating Displaced Patients Have Protections Under WMC Prescribing Rules
On Friday, September 8, 2023, Lynx Healthcare, a pain management clinic with locations in Spokane Valley and Kennewick, announced that it will close due to financial insolvency.
Several agencies and organizations are working together to ensure patients continue to receive care and mitigate risks for Lynx patients. However, approximately 2,000 people, being treated for pain management and/or opioid use disorder will be displaced. Practitioners should be advised this closure will likely lead to an influx of patients exhibiting withdrawal symptoms, requesting referrals, or seeking prescription refills.
The Washington Medical Commission (WMC) has resources practitioners can access regarding pain medication and prescriptions here: https://wmc.wa.gov/resources/pain-management-resources. Health practitioners are encouraged to take on displaced Lynx patients. WMC prescribing rules encourage taking on legacy patients and maintain their current treatment for 90 days to evaluate efficacy and function.
Abruptly stopping prescribed pain medication, especially after long-term use or high doses, can lead to extreme withdrawal symptoms and potential health risks. CDC and WMC guidance recommends establishing appropriate tapering schedules in consultation with patients when indicated. Practitioners can use the below resources:
- For a quick guide to pain types and rules use the WMC Opioid Informational Booklet.
- To help addiction medicine-specific patients find access to a new buprenorphine provider use the Washington State Recovery Helpline Medication for Opioid Use Disorder locator.
- Guidance for patients to receive a final appointment, to obtain their medical records or to find a listing of other available clinics is on the Lynx Healthcare website.
The Washington Medical Commission promotes patient safety and enhances the integrity of the medical profession through licensing, rule-making, discipline, and education. Learn more about the commission at wmc.wa.gov. Follow the WMC on Facebook and Twitter.