HUNTSVILLE Ala. (WAAY) - In one month, Mark Kennedy says he wont know where to turn.
"I am able to function, able to have a job. Without all this, I won't have anything," Kennedy said
Hundreds of other Alabama Pain Center patients share Kennedy's concerns.
Tuesday, they were told that their center will no longer be able to provide them with medical care.
"I can't tell you how many times I have walked in to see our employees crying, not for themselves, but because they have just heard another story from a patient who is just at his or her wits end because they don't know what they are going to do if we close," said Patrick Robbins, an Administrator at the Alabama Pain Center.
APC sent a letter to all of its patients explaining why they are closing. The center's ability to accept Medicare payments was suspended in August due to the results of an audit performed by AdvanceMed. A portion of the letter reads, "AdvanceMed has not provided any details regarding its findings. Instead AdvanceMed has made sweeping allegations based on incomplete, general information. APC submitted extensive documentation that refutes those allegations in the strongest terms possible."
Medicare payments make up 80 percent of the center's income. Without those payments the center cannot survive financially.
"We compound very unique dosages of medications on site. No other pain management physician has the capability to do that, so for those 325 patients who have pain pumps, there just simply are not enough physicians anywhere close enough to absorb them and provide them the care they are accustomed to. They will just be stuck in their pain or much much worse. The effects can be devastating or life threatening truly," Robbins said
Tuesday, in the midst of their worry, patients of the pain center gave a standing ovation to the center's tearful founder and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Dean Willis, thanking him for his service to them over the years and for his work in helping manage their pain.
"Now I am going to be back to square one, back to where I was, in constant pain all the time," Kennedy said.
The Alabama Pain Center promised patients Tuesday they will continue to fight the Medicare suspension. They asked patients to help by emailing their congressional representative.