Former patient calls EVMS pain program ‘chaotic’; medical school says it’s improving


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach resident Darvin Barnard saw something familiar in 10 On Your Side’s initial report on the pain management program at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Like the Chesapeake woman we profiled then, he too got charged for a no-show fee, when he says it was the provider who didn’t appear for the online appointment.

Barnard says this had already happened twice, and then just this week, he discovered he got kicked out of the program.

Barnard is on disability from his job at Newport News Shipbuilding, trying to deal with the pain of multiple back hip surgeries. One of those surgeries forced him to re-schedule his pain management appointment with EVMS back in the spring.

Then he tried to log on to the new appointment in May.

“In order for them to see me, they told me I had to pay $75 for a no-show,” Barnard said

In August, Barnard had a similar experience. He says he logged on 15 minutes before his scheduled appointment for 3:15 p.m.

“I stayed on the virtual thing till about 7 o’clock and no one ever came. I got a $50 fee for the no-show saying I didn’t show up for the video.”

In September, the head of EVMS Medical Group said the issues were the result of a perfect storm: the pandemic, a decrease in providers, other Hampton Roads pain programs closing, and starting up a new online provider platform.

Dr. Kurt Stauder sent a statement to WAVY News Wednesday afternoon:

“We’ve been working to decrease the strain on the practice caused by telephone technology issues, the closure of several regional pain management programs, and the rapid implementation of telehealth due to COVID. At this time most of those issues have resolved, which is evident from the volume of calls we receive and the decreased number of patient complaints.

“Patients who feel they have been charged a no-show fee incorrectly should contact the Pain Management office and request an audit. Any patient charged incorrectly will have the fee removed from their account.

“There are many reasons a patient could be discharged from our pain management program. Each patient is given a pain management contract to sign at their first visit that outlines our mutual healthcare agreement. Patients who do not show up for random drug screens, patients who violate the agreement and habitual no-shows for appointments are all reasons a patient could be discharged from the program.”

But last week was the last straw — and apparently the last appointment ever — for Barnard at EVMS.

“It’s chaotic in that office. You got to be there to see what goes in there. People are upset and they are blowin’ up.”

He logged on for his Dec. 2 appointment and got a message that it was moved to Dec. 7. And then when he tried to log on on Monday and “they said I was terminated from the practice because of a no-show for my appointment.”

Barnard says he will now have to look for a new pain management program.

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