North Carolina Medical Board Consultant Engages In Psychological Warfare Against NC34 Pain Patients
By: Passionate Pachyderms
Psychological warfare is a pretty nasty thing, it conjures thoughts of the military, CIA, FBI, or some other ABC agency we may or may not have ever known existed. We think of movies we’ve seen where it has been portrayed, prisoners in cold dingy, dirty cells, the subject’s eyes desperately scanning, searching the walls and corners of the cell for an escape route as the captors are subjecting them to tactics meant to break their spirit and rob them of any faith or hope that things might get better, that they might be saved or escape. You get the idea.
The one place we don’t expect to find psychological warfare, is peeking into the pages of our personal medical records, selectively grabbing bits and pieces of information about us, our illnesses, medications, and personal communications with our doctor. We never wonder if it’s secretly at work within the confines of state medical board phones, walls and computer systems where confidentiality SHOULD be reigning supreme, but in reality, isn’t.
Each time we see our doctor, we’re asked to read and sign a HIPAA form. Most Americans have never actually read the form, we assume (due in no small part to the “P” in the name) that the document spells out what we think we already know, that our records and private medical information won’t be shared or seen by anyone who has no business seeing it. Some of us are even comforted by that thought as we quickly scribble our signature on the designated line.
We hand the paper back thinking nothing more about it. The truth is, HIPAA has absolutely NOTHING to do with privacy. HIPAA stands for “ (H)ealth (I)nsurance (P)ortability and (A)ccountability (A)ct “ The word PRIVACY is not included.
That being said, why would Michael Schatman, a 60 year old psychologist and self proclaimed “Risk Mitigation Expert” from Boston, MA. insert himself without invitation or legitimate reason into an investigation by the North Carolina Medical Board of Dr. Thomas Kline, a beloved, respected, and very outspoken advocate for tens of thousands of Intractable pain patients throughout the country, and the “NC34,” Klines Thirty-four seriously ill “refugee palliative care patients,” all of whom suffer from complicated incurable, painful diseases and conditions, who were all forcibly ripped from Klines care when he was coerced into surrendering his DEA License to prescribe controlled substances without notice, placing all 34 of them in grave danger, risking their lives by thoughtlessly leaving these seriously ill patients without the doctor who best knows them and their medical histories, and leaving them without options for adequate medical care, and needed pain medications.
You might be thinking, “What’s the problem? Klines 34 patients can just find a new doctor to treat them.”
If you are, then you’re unaware of the current WAR being waged against pain patients and the doctors who treat them by the government, CDC, DEA, as well as anti opiate zealots like PROP and Shatterproof, making it nearly impossible for these patients to find physicians willing to treat them, or pharmacies willing to fill prescriptions for their opiate pain medications.
Aptly named the “War On Drugs,” tighter restrictions and limits on prescriptions for pain medications brought about by the CDC’s 2016 “Guidelines” meant supposedly to assist primary care doctors in prescribing fewer opiate pain medications to patients needing them for the first time, the guidelines, authored exclusively by anti opiate zealots belonging to organizations like PROP and Shatterproof, allowed no input from professionals who actually treat patients suffering intractable long term pain due to various diseases and conditions, many of which are progressive or degenerative in nature, incurable, and extremely painful.
The guidelines were quickly adopted by state governments and doctors offices across the country as “LAW” just as the authors intended, cutting the medications pain patients had been stable on for years, even decades, down to a tiny fraction of their needed doses, or stopping them all together, causing catastrophic destabilization of their conditions, robbing these patients of all functionality and quality of life they’d previously had, and forcing millions to choose between,
A. obtaining dangerous street drugs to treat their now out of control pain so they can continue to function and care for themselves and their families.
B. Suffering in torturous pain 24/7 365 days a year with zero functionality, forcing their families, (if they have families) to care for their every need, having zero joy or quality to their lives.
C. Suicide due to pain.
All of this was backed up by the DEA raiding innocent physicians offices dressed in combat attire, waving automatic weapons, terrorizing patients, doctors and employees alike. Often these raids resulted in charging the doctors with nothing more serious than a few counts of “Medicare fraud” years later, once the investigations were complete.
The charges are filed not because the doctors actually committed Medicare fraud, but because, after freezing the doctors assets, closing their practices, forcing them to abandon their patients without notice, and pretty much ruining innocent doctors lives, the DEA has to charge them with “something” to justify the action, so innocent mistakes or errors in billing become “Medicare Fraud” allowing the government to slap a “justified” sticker on the file, which in turn allows them to continue ruining the lives of more innocent physicians and their families. ( doctorsofcourage.org )
When a physicians practice isn’t big enough for the DEA to take an interest in, or significant enough to make big splashy headlines, power hungry State Medical Boards are more than happy to step in and take up the slack.
State Medical Board investigations don’t have to follow the same rules of evidence or carry any burden of legitimate proof to accomplish their dirty work. They can pretty much decide they don’t approve of or like the way a certain physician is going about doing things, and armed with nothing more than an anonymous phone call complaining about the doctors attempts to advocate for his patients and others like them via youtube or informative twitter posts they don’t like or agree with, is enough for these power hungry boards to get things rolling.
That anonymous complaint coupled with a doctors refusal to demand his palliative care patients submit to “suggested” (but not mandated) regular urine drug screens, or sign useless pain contracts, is more than enough to begin an investigation which leads to the doctor being coerced and tricked into surrendering his license to prescribe controlled substances after being assured, “it’s just temporary, a couple of weeks at most until things are straightened out.”
This is exactly what happened to Dr. Thomas Kline and his patients who collectively call themselves The NC34.
Kline, A physician with nearly 40 years experience, never had a complaint or law suit filed, and had until this point a spotless record.
In spite of this, Dr. Kline had no warning, no written notice of what was about to happen, no hearing, no formal charges filed against him. Even now, nearly 2 months later, he, his attorney, nor his patients have any official information from the NCMB explaining how or why any of this happened, when Kline will have the opportunity to speak or defend himself, nor when this nightmare will be over.
It is unlikely the NCMB had any idea who or what they were dealing with when it came to Kline and his NC34, many of whom are some of the countries most out spoken, committed advocates and activists for those suffering intractable pain, but, who can no longer get adequate opiate pain medications to control their pain and return them to their prior functionality and quality of life.
When Dr. Kline was coerced into surrendering his license to individuals sent to his home by the North Carolina Medical Board, it set off a fire storm built from hundreds of thousands of chronic pain sufferers across the country who follow Kline, his very out spoken activist patients, or both on social media platforms, and who in turn, carry their messages and information to others around the world.
So where does the psychological warfare part come into things? Rest assured, we’re getting there. This is a very complicated story/situation, much like the movie example I mentioned in the first paragraph, and just like in a movie, without starting at the beginning, the middle and end would make no sense.
As activists and advocates for the CPP (chronic Pain Patient) community, much of our time is spent on social media sharing information and ideas, promoting action plans, helping those who need support, and of course, coming up with plans to actually make a difference and change what is currently happening to CPP’s.
In doing this, we often encounter disrupters, people to join the pain patient threads and discussions to do nothing but cause hate and discontent, stir things up, cause drama, and just generally keep us from actually achieving the tightly woven community we need to effectively fight for the civil and constitutional rights pain patients are having stolen from them on a regular basis.
One of the things we’ve noticed is that the anti opiate zealots have a constant need to lump pain patients in with addicts. We are fighting that practice hard. Not because we have anything against those who suffer from addiction, but because we, as pain patients with serious legitimate medical problems for which we need to take pain medications to control our pain and be able to function, have nothing in common with those who suffer from addiction.
Pain Patients do not obtain a high, or euphoria from their medications, they take their meds as directed, get their meds from one pharmacy, don’t abuse or divert them, and need them to function on a daily basis and have some quality of life. We don’t mix them with illegal drugs or alcohol, and when the last day of the month comes, we still have enough medication to get us through that day, unlike addicts who can’t resist the temptation to keep taking what ever they have until it’s gone whether that takes them 2 days or 10. Addicts have the distinct inability to make those meds last an entire month, or take them as directed.
We have up to this point, as pain patients been completely ignored at tables where decisions concerning our treatment in the future is concerned. The addiction people on the other hand, seem to have free and open access and seats at any table they so desire, including the presidents.
They have countless organizations and household names coming out in support of them, pouring billions into the rehab and treatment markets. This is great! We wish all addicts could get all the help they need.
That said, when someone from the addiction world sits at these tables, they often claim to represent addicts and pain patients, but the pain patient side of things is typically not mentioned and completely forsaken.
We take exception to this. There are more than enough of us pounding on doors begging for seats at those tables so we can convey the truth about what is happening to millions of American pain patients, and finally start having meaningful discussions about how to help us, the ones who legitimately need these medications as a part of treating the medical conditions we suffer from.
We are consistently refused seats at those tables, seats which are later, once again filled with addicts, parents of kids who overdosed and died, and of course, anti opiate zealots.
As a result, pain patients rights are being stolen more every day. We can’t find doctors to treat us, we can’t find doctors willing to prescribe the pain meds we need out of fear of being raided by the DEA or admonished by state medical boards, and when we find a way to overcome both of those obstacles, and bring our prescriptions to local pharmacies to be filled, we are told no, they won’t fill them.
We are consistently being treated like common street addicts, and criminals, disrespected, disregarded, made to wait, forced to submit to urine drug screens with no probable cause for doing so, forced to sign pain contracts which restrict our freedom and right to live our lives as we choose, we are forced to endure painful invasive injections and procedures, nerve burning, and implantation of pain pumps into our bodies, and told if we refuse to agree to these things, (many of which are not FDA approved, and are dangerous,) we will not be given what little pain medication we can still manage to get.
We have sent millions of letters, made hundreds of thousands of phone calls, and thousands of visits to elected officials who gaslight us and ignore our pleas for help. Once again, robbing us of our constitutional right to petition our government for redress of our grievances.
So within our social media threads and advocacy discussions, we have every right to insist that addiction discussions be taken elsewhere, and to disagree loudly and strongly with those who feel it’s okay for government to demand things like, urine drug screens from us when we have done nothing to call our integrity and adherence to our prescription medication instructions into question. Nothing to indicate our meds are taken in any manner other than as directed, and nothing to warrant the surrender of our Civil and constitutional rights as American Citizens.
Enter Michael Schatman..60 year old Boston, MA psychologist, self proclaimed world’s leading expert on “Risk Mitigation,” (among other things, just ask him, he’ll tell you.)
Researcher, and author of copious published editorials and papers on various topics.
Michael took great exception to Dr, Klines position spelled out in one of his Pain Medication Fact v Fiction videos on you tube in which Dr, Kline explained his reasons for refusing to force his NC34 patients to submit to Urine drug screens and Pain Patient contracts.
Michael it seems, is a huge cheerleader for urine drug screen testing. He absolutely contends such testing, which reveals abhorrent drug use in fewer than1 in every 100 patients tested, is absolutely a “Life Saving” tool. However when asked to clearly explain his position, and how exactly urine drug screening could possibly save a significant number of lives to warrant not only it’s cost to every patient, but also the unconstitutional nature of pain patients being forced (more like black mailed) into submitting to them, he either wouldn’t or couldn’t explain.
Upon further examination, we discovered a number of less than complimentary tweeted remarks that Michael posted going back as far as August of 2019 indicating he clearly had some sort of axe to grind with regard to Kline, and those following him.
The above screen shot of a DM from Schatman dated 8/29/19 was forwarded to my attention when it was made known to the cpp community I was writing this article.
Things have only continued to get worse from there.
When everything happened with Dr. Kline and the NCMB, the entire cpp community rose up with righteous anger. They came together for what may have been the first time, furious and ready to do what ever it took to fight back on his behalf. Cpp’s are nothing if not loyal when it comes to their loved and respected advocates. This sentiment can be multiplied ten fold when it comes to Dr. Thomas Kline, so, that particular juncture was absolutely NOT the time to come into our threads and start saying less than complementary things about the champion of several hundred thousand chronic pain patients.
When Schatman did exactly that, he would have had to have the intelligence of a gnat to think the response would be anything other than brutal. The response he got seemed to fuel his unknown resolve rather than send him running for the hills. In the days that followed his comments and attacks on Kline not only continued, but he and his supporters began disparaging Kline supporters as well.
Long after the shock of the initial news of what happened to Kline had worn off, Schatman and his supporters continued to needle, belittle, malign, and disparage anyone who happened to have an opinion that differed from Schatmans.
As cpp’s continued attempts to ignore the antics of Schatman and his minions, and come together under the umbrella idea that, what was and is currently happening to them goes against both their civil and constitutional rights, they began forming battle plans to stand together, scream louder, and fight for their rights as they never have before. This further enraged Schatman and his minions who insist that agreeing to relinquish our right protecting us from illegal search and seizure without just cause and agreeing to submit to regular Urine Drug screens would without question, result in pain patients being returned to their prior medication levels allowing them functionality and quality of life like they had prior to the 2016 CDC guidelines.
A statement that obviously is an unqualified fabrication. We all know from years of experience, some of us decades of experience, that the only thing that will come of relinquishing our rights, will be more restrictions and demands put upon us making it increasingly more difficult for pain patients to comply, robbing us of more of our rights and our dignity as groups like PROP dangle figurative carrots (enough pain meds to allow us to function again) over our heads just out of reach.
Eventually it became apparent to Kline’s NC34 and others that Schatman had somehow inserted himself into Dr. Klines case, gained access to patient files, and was discussing them and the case on twitter in open forums and threads. Understandably, once again the pain community became outraged, and the already scared, traumatized NC34 patients became terrified this whack job had access to private medical information and was about to share most if not all of it on the internet.
Fist he claimed he called the NCMB, then he denied having done so, followed by claiming the NCMB called him on more than one occasion, and shared patient records and information with him. Given the information in tweets he had sent out, NC34 patients and the CPP community in general had no reason to doubt his access to the medical files, and worse, they had no recourse for their private information having been shared with this individual by the NCMB! This further enraged pain patients who are increasingly fed up with the abuses they are forced to endure.
Justifiably, the pain community began pushing back, questioning his statements, and challenging his assertions. While he and his minions often became abusive, rude, dismissive, and combatant, to their credit, the pain patients overall refrained from personal attacks or name calling. Sadly, it was not the same where Schatman and his friends were concerned. Though they were all repeatedly asked to just leave the pain community alone, stop antagonizing, insulting, and attempting to belittle the community, those requests seemed to fuel the abuse and interference even more until it became quite clear that Schatmans every intention was to destroy anyone and everyone against forced Urine Drug Testing, as well as anyone involved in advocating for the return of pain patients civil and constitutional rights. It was at this point we began to realize what was happening is the very definition of,
“Psychological Warfare.” Definition: “Actions intended to reduce an opponents morale.”
The warfare occasionally turned to threats against individuals and the community as a whole. In the below screen shot, he threatens publishing a paper depicting pain patients as mentally ill, an unfair, unjustified, inappropriate, tag that government, media, PROP, Shatterproof and all anti opiate zealots have created to malign the integrity of pain patients and create an atmosphere in which what ever they have to say is dismissed out of hand. More such nonsense being published anywhere will only further this illegitimate notion and make fighting for our rights more difficult. Schatman knows this, and as a psychologist with 3 decades experience, he also understands the very damaging effects of making such false claims and attempting to back them up with words and actions taken completely out of context from a situation he created in which pain patients are fighting back and making every attempt to stand up and defend themselves and their rights.
Given all I’ve explained and shown via screen shots to this point, it naturally leads one to some obvious questions.
What is it about this situation that has someone like Michael Schatman so interested in this particular group of CPP’s?
Why did Schatman feel the need to reach out to the NCMB and insert himself unsolicited into the Kline case?
Schatman claims to be concerned only about the NC34 and their welfare, going as far as mentioning the possible catastrophic ramifications for these patients, but offering no other solution than having them check themselves into “rehab” which would do nothing for them as chronic pain patients, but would in fact, make their lives considerably worse by labeling them drug addicts, limiting them to MAT drugs like suboxone and methadone, rather than allowing them the medications they need to control their pain.
Additionally were any of these patients to have taken his suggestion and subsequently been labeled an addict, that label would follow them for the rest of their lives making it virtually impossible for them to obtain adequate appropriate treatment not only for their diseases, for for the treatment of pain.
There are those who will argue this is untrue till they are blue in the face, including I suspect, Michael Schatman. While in theory, it may not appear to be the case, as no professional is ever going to have enough of a lapse in intelligence to openly admit they don’t treat addicts the same, give their complaints the same attention, or habitually disregard the medical complaints of those suffering from addiction, the fact is, (as any addicts will tell those bothering to ask) that is exactly what happens. They are disbelieved, dismissed, gaslighted, marginalized, referred to mental health, and their physical complaints are disregarded as them “drug seeking” rather than being taken seriously. For someone suffering serious medical conditions, having the “addiction label” placed on them is for all intents and purposes, “The kiss of death.”
Schatman being, in his words, “The world’s leading risk mitigation specialist” absolutely is aware of this and if he isn’t aware of it, he apparently isn’t nearly as intelligent and all knowing as he thinks he is.
Perhaps Schatman’s intentions were good. I’m willing to concede that possibility, but if in fact that were the case, why attack, belittle, demean, and abuse those who are protecting their own?
Why taunt them repeatedly insisting that their constitutional and civil rights must take a back seat to them submitting to Urine drug tests, or they will be left to wither in pain without end? Why must the rights of these patients be surrendered in order for them to obtain proper care?
Why does Schatman repeatedly impugn the professionalism and integrity of the doctor these patients love and respect?
What exactly is wrong with Dr. Kline exercising his first* amendment right to speak freely and voice his own professional opinion and position on things like opiate pain medications, and his opposition to forcing palliative care patients with painful, rare, chronic diseases and conditions to submit to regular urine drug testing and pain contracts?
What is so wrong with Kline wanting to treat these people, who have been through more than most people can possibly imagine, like human beings with compassion and kindness?
What is wrong with him being determined to uphold the oath he took upon becoming a doctor to, “First, do no harm?”
Haven’t these patients been put through enough?
Since Schatman has watched Kline’s youtube videos, he knows that one of the criteria for becoming a patient of Dr. Kline’s, is that they have to have been turned away from, given up on, or abandoned by no fewer than 10 other pain specialists. Knowing this, Schatman should have been well aware of the stress, fear, ptsd, and deep distrust these patients have for doctors and whats been done to them. Yet he deliberately attacks the one individual who stepped up to help them, who believes them, and cares for them.
Try as I might, I can’t find an acceptable way to explain this behavior from someone who is a trained psychologist.
I couldn’t figure it out that is, until I found this screen shot of a series of Schatman tweets:
I found that first page, and I went whoa, why does Schatman know so much about who can make a complaint to the North Carolina Medical Board and when/if those complaints will be taken seriously?
What if because of his issues with Kline and Kline’s videos, Schatman got mad enough with the urine drug screen video to either make the complaint call himself, or put that woman up to it?
Then, what if he used his “risk mitigation expert” ploy to call and discuss the case with the NCMB claiming to have heard about it online and become “concerned about the NC34,” which we know is not the case because, as I pointed out earlier, he did NOTHING to help the NC34 other than say he was concerned for them. His only suggestion after supposedly dealing with these very situations for decades was, “send them to rehab?”
Seriously? Just how concerned could he have been?
I‘ve been on Twitter since 2012. I’ve never seen Schatman speak to patients at length like this. He seems very invested in talking with a bunch of people he normally wouldn’t. I sense almost a vibe of guilt for the NC34.
I also suspect (but can’t prove) that Schatman detests the way Dr K managed his patients. He’s aware of a lot of the specifics of Kline’s case as he states, “once they opened the investigation, the board had plenty of ammo to go after him.” Then goes on to say, “the board has the right to release de-identified data” which seems an admission of some sorts….as if he knows they released information, (possibly illegally?) So he is preemptively throwing that out there perhaps in his mind to cover his ass in some way.
After more hours of research than I care to admit, days of searching for and gathering screen shots, and three days spent stringing this all together, there are a few things I am certain of.
1. Michael Schatman did not like or appreciate Dr. Kline, his opinions, or his way of doing things. He especially didn’t like the fact that Kline went on youtube and spoke to patients in a matter of fact human to human way that most people really appreciated.
2. Of primary interest to Schatman is anything to do with the requirement of periodic urine drug screens. Schatman is unshakably in favor of these tests claiming they “save countless lives” but when asked to explain exactly how they save countless lives, he refused to answer.
3. A complaint was made to the NCMB by someone who was not affiliated with Dr. Kline in any way, the person was not a patient, was unknown to any of the NC34 or Dr. Kline, had never met nor personally spoken to any of them, yet felt compelled to make a call anyway.
4. After that call was made and the wheels began turning, after Kline’s DEA license had been surrendered, several of the NC34 called the NCMB attempting to get information and for other reasons. All of their calls were met with brick walls, No information would be given to anyone.
5. In spite of this, Schatman discusses not only having spoken to members of the board multiple times, he conveys details of patients medical records, and admits to having been given patient information without patient knowledge or consent. He then goes on to not only further discuss private patient information, but the Kline case in general often making very disparaging remarks to and about the patients and Dr. Kline, as well as those supporting them.
6. The are pages and pages of tweets from Schatman using what can only be described as psychological warfare against the group of pain patients engaged in both supporting Dr. Kline and his position, and refusing to give up their rights and be forced to submit to periodic drug testing among other things.
7. I can not say with any degree of certainty why Schatman has opted to engage in this incredibly divisive, disruptive, and morale draining “psychological warfare,” given that he has, for as long as I can tell, been an advocate of pain patients, *To a degree. But it is abundantly clear to me, that there is an underlying objective at work here which has led to behaviors which, one would certainly expect a 60 year old psychologist would typically refrain from participating in.
Schatman has not only NOT refrained from engaging in it, he has, in my opinion been a primary strong instigating factor in it. That said, again the reasons for this are unknown, and at this point can best be described as speculative. I invite you to examine the evidence I’ve included here, and draw your own conclusions.
I am Passionate Pachyderms, The Brutally Honest Elephant in Every Room, And I Tell It Like It is.