A pain management clinic with branches in Kennewick and Spokane Valley is shutting down with little notice.
Lynx Healthcare has about 2,000 patients in the two communities. Most are receiving treatment for chronic pain management, with some additional patients being treated with medicine for opioid use disorder.
Its medical test site licenses expired at the end of June, according to the Washington state Department of Health, which listed addresses at 7401 W. Hood Place and 3730 Plaza Way, both in Kennewick.
There also were Washington state Department of Labor and Industries tax warrant cases filed in Benton County Superior Court against Pinnacle Pain Center, owner of Lynx Healthcare.
No other information was immediately available on why the clinics were closing.
The Spokane Valley and Kennewick clinics will close Sept. 8, according to a notice distributed Wednesday by the Washington State Health Care Authority. Until then the clinic is trying to see patients for a final medical refill, it posted on its website.
“Given the suddenness of Lynx’s closure, we anticipate that some patients may have difficulty obtaining new pain management or addiction medicine providers,” according to the Health Care Authority announcement.
The Health Care Authority, Washington state Department of Health and L&I of Labor and Industries are working with health plans and community organizations to help prevent patients from having their care disrupted.
Pain management, opioid addiction
Abruptly stopping pain medication can be dangerous, particularly for those who have been on medications for a long time or take high doses, according to the Health Care Authority.
Patients may show up at hospital emergency departments with symptoms of withdrawal or seeking prescription refills. Their risk of suicide or overdose may increase, the Health Care Authority said.
Doctors and other health care practitioners who treat displaced patients are not in danger of disciplinary action from the Washington Medical Commission, according to the Health Care Authority.
This protection extends to ordering, prescribing, dispensing or administering opioids or other controlled substances within the bounds of legitimate medical purposes, it said.
Patients should contact their doctor and insurance provider to learn about options, according to the Health Care Authority.
Lynx Healthcare lists on its website six Tri-Cities area clinics and doctors that may be able to provide some addiction or pain management care to its patients as it closes.
Patients may also contact the Medication for Opioid Use Disorder locator through the Washington State Recovery Helpline to find a new buprenorphine provider. Buprenorphine is used to treat addiction as a substitute for a stronger opioid, such as heroin.
The Health Care Authority recommends that patients start looking for a new doctor or clinic as soon as possible.
Lynx Healthcare has provided services for neck and back pain, migraines, post-surgical pain, sports injuries, sciatica, arthritis, neuropathy and complex regional pain syndrome, with treatments that include spinal cord stimulation and regenerative medicine, according to its website.