DEA agents, Columbus police on scene of north Columbus pain center

DEA agents, Columbus police on scene of north Columbus pain center
DEA agents, Columbus police on scene of north Columbus pain center

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and officers with the Columbus Police Department are were on scene at a north Columbus pain center Tuesday.

There was a large presence at Southeast Regional Pain Center, located on Whitesville Rd.

Agents were in and out of the building all day, some hauling evidence, and many with their faces covered because this is an undercover investigation.

The Office of Inspector General of the Federal Health and Human Services was on scene as well. Officials said they were here executing a search warrant at the center. They said their office deals with fraud and waste of Health and Human Service programs like Medicaid and Medicare.

“When I came to the door, I was met by an agent,” Brian Ray, a patient at the clinic, said. "He told me I would have to check back tomorrow on getting an appointment.

Ray drove all the way from Alexander City, AL for his appointment today.

“I’m aggravated because I had to bring my father out here because he also has to come,” Ray said. “Them getting in and out of here is difficult.”

Kenneth Barngrover is the doctor at the Southeast Regional Pain Center. According to documents from the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, Barngrover was put on probation for three years and had to pay a $10,000 fine back in 1997.

This Georgia Medical Board found Barngrover, among other things, had prescribed multiple patients controlled substances who didn’t meet the minimum standards.

Ray said he relies on this center to help him deal with the pain after a boating accident, and he is worried what he will do tomorrow when his pain medication runs out.

“I may have to go to another pain clinic,” he said. "I may have to go to my doctor and see if he can help me until I can get into another clinic if they don’t get this straightened out.

WTVM reached out to the Southeast Regional Pain Center for comment and to find out the status of future appointments for patients but didn’t hear back.

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