House Committee to Investigate Failure to Win Pain Pump License

Oct 7, 2013

A Rhode Island House committee aims to find out why a health care company failed to win a license to provide home pain management services in the state. Pentec withdrew its application, but the controversy continues.

Pentec is a company that provides specialty services for patients using complicated medical devices, such as pain pumps. These are devices that are implanted to help control pain that’s otherwise unmanageable. Pentec nurses can visit patients at home to refill their pain pumps. And some say that’s critical for patients who find it too painful to travel for a refill.

Lawmakers will review an application to refill pain pumps in patients' homes.

The company applied for a license to do business in Rhode Island, where it said it could serve the five patients who must currently travel to hospitals across state lines for more medicine. But Pentec ended up withdrawing its application after facing opposition from state officials. Now, Warwick and Cranston representative Joseph McNamara wants to know what happened. He chairs the house Health, Education, and Welfare committee, which is holding a hearing on the process. He said Pentec, and his constituents with pain pumps, received unfair treatment.

“I hope to get some answers to the way these meetings were conducted," said McNamara. "And we also want to find out, is this an anomaly?”

Pentec said in its application that no other company provides in-home pain pump refills in Rhode Island.

The Department of Health said it couldn't comment until after the hearing.

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