Lake Worth Discusses How to Ease the Pain of Pain Clinics

The Lake Worth City Commission voted last night to pass an emergency ordinance that would place a 180-day moratorium on filing or receiving any applications to establish a pain management clinic within city boundaries. The commission scheduled a second reading and public hearing for Monday morning, March 1, hoping to head off any last-minute applications. The moratorium will give the city time to prepare a text amendment to ban such clinics.

Lake Worth residents are in an uproar over a new pain clinic that has opened at 1200 N. Dixie Highway. The Juice drove by the address yesterday and found two parking lots full of out-of-state cars

being directed by a guy in a golf cart. It took us a while to find the entrance, since the two-story white building is completely unmarked -- no signs, entrances camouflaged with chainlink. The clientele going into and out of the building looked, well, unsavory. [See Lake Worth blogger Tom McGow's excellent photos here].

The clinic is owned by American Pain LLC ("Stop Hurting and Start Living!"), which first opened in Cypress Creek, then moved to Boca Raton, and is now parked in Lake Worth. WSVN looked into American Pain's finances late last year and found that the business is rolling in cash: The Boca clinic deposited $777,225 in December, with some daily deposits as high as $155,000.

The moratorium will have no impact on American Pain, since it's already operating. Commissioners noted that American Pain's application had come in as a medical office with five medical doctors licensed by the State of Florida. It was a wolf in sheep's clothing.

The commission also discussed mobile MRI units, a common form of roving mini-pain clinic, which would also be banned in the text amendment. The commission heard statistics that put the number of pain clinics in Florida at 900. One hundred of those are in Palm Beach County. A new pain clinic is opening every three days in Palm Beach and Broward counties, by some estimates. Six people a day die of drug overdoses.

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