Longtime Memphis pain doctor reprimanded for prescription issues

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Department of Health has reprimanded a Memphis pain management and addiction doctor for his prescribing practices.

The state put Dr. Douglas Jones' license to practice on probation and banned him from owning or operating pain management clinics.

Jones has been licensed in Tennessee since 1987.

A social media post from 2012 shows Jones meeting with other doctors and state lawmakers. He's wearing a white coat with red writing that lists his specialties: “addiction medicine" and "pain management.”

That’s exactly the type of work that got him in trouble with the state starting around the same time.

In the order from the Tennessee Department of Health, officials said Dr. Jones treated patients for pain management between 2008 and 2016. He ran his own clinic in this Park Avenue office building during much of that time.

But, according to the board that regulates doctors, Jones did not meet standards of care for most of his patients.

The allegations read like a list of what not to do as a doctor: prescribing controlled substances “without conducting a physical exam” or “formulating a treatment plan" and giving prescriptions to patients with a history of addiction and suicide attempts without any kind of mental health screening.

WREG analyzed federal statistics for opioid prescriptions in 2015, when records show he was the director of the Park Avenue clinic. Jones ranked in the top 15 percent of opioid prescribers in Tennessee, with more than 35 percent of his prescriptions being for an opioid.

WREG went to Jones’ East Memphis home. When a woman answered the door, we told her who we were and why we were looking for Dr. Doug Jones.

"We’re covering how his license was put on probation," reporter Stacy Jacobson said.

She promptly shut the door.

But neighbors confirmed Dr. Doug Jones lived at the home.

WREG also confirmed Jones lived at the home by spotting his white lab coat in the backseat of an Acura sedan parked outside. It was the same lab coat from the TMA photo on Facebook.

The back of the car also had piles of documents: research and even patient reports left out for anyone to see.

Neighbors said Dr. Jones’ messy car may be an indicator of his work.

But one of the names on those records was Felicia Price with a home address less than four miles away on Southern Avenue.

We found Felicia Price and told her how we knew about her.

“You’re kidding," Price said. "I don’t like that because I don’t know what it’s doing back there. Why would he have it open in the backseat of his car?”

In fact, WREG spoke with Parke Morris, an attorney who handles a lot of patient rights issues. Morris said Jones could be in big trouble.

"Extremely unprofessional. Violation of federal law and outrageous," he said, referencing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. "The records indicate you’re supposed to protect not only the treatment given, but their name, identifying information, date of birth and their social. This is no different than him leaving these records out in a waiting room for anyone to see."

Price, the patient, was also concerned because she didn't remember Dr. Jones, though she did know another doctor listed on paperwork in his backseat.

“I remember the last name. He did see me at Baptist,” Price said.

She was alarmed to hear about Jones’s license probation and other issues.

"It’s a good thing, so it should be done," she said. "People get operated on, they prescribe stuff, then they get addicted to it. Sometimes it gets to be so bad."

“There’s a growing emphasis to discipline these doctors who are writing scripts for anything, for pain medication without an examination," Morris said.

A spokesperson for the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center said Jones worked at the hospital from 1998 until 2008.

Methodist and VA officials said he does not have privileges anymore at their hospital.

Representatives for Baptist Hospital confirmed he still has privileges at their hospital.

Jones' practitioner profile with the Tennessee Department of Health states he has privileges at Saint Francis Hospital. Representatives did not respond to our repeated requests to confirm.

Jones faces fines up to $90,000 in the case.

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