The Candyman Gets the Best Patient Satisfaction Scores and Life in Prison

Please read the entire thing. There are some questions at the end. You will be graded but it is a open book test. Kidding…or am I?

Two years ago I wrote this:

steven r. henson

Dr. Steven Henson, a doctor in Kansas, is accused in a 31-count indictment of operating a prescription drug operation that led to the death of one of his patients. Henson was an ER doctor who then practiced at the Kansas Men’s Clinic in west Wichita and at other locations in Wichita. That clinic supposedly treats men’s sexual health issues with Oxycodone, Xanax and Methadone.  Henson handed out the prescriptions “in return for cash payment…without a medical necessity…without a legitimate medical examination… and for individuals other than the person who came to see him.” The indictment also says Henson deposited at least $312,000 in cash related to the alleged crimes. The indictment says Henson is accused of illegally distributing more than 34,000 Oxycodone pills.

We see these dirtbags all the time but here is the best part.  My close doctor friend worked under him when he was in residency.  Henson was an ER doctor then.  Here is what he said:

He was one of our ER attendings in Salina. We called him the candyman. In his defense, he had by FAR the highest patient satisfaction scores.  The administrators cited his high scores and the reason for them every time they tried to make us think that was important.  They wanted us to be more like him.

Just another reason why these patient satisfaction scores for hospital docs are bogus. Did it lead Henson to becoming the Candyman?  Who knows?  It sure didn’t hurt.  And it made the administrators so happy.   Picture an administrator eating a scoobie snack and that is what you get every time they see those nice scores come in.

Well, here is the update. He just got LIFE IN PRISON!

There are lots of questions here:

  • Is this a just sentence or too harsh? This can be a slippery slope of a precedent.
  • Should there be an investigation into the patient satisfaction scores he had?
  • Should others, like administrators, be held accountable for motivating him through these patient satisfaction scores? Are they not accomplices?

Would love your opinions on this. Let’s have a nice discussion here or on FB.

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  7 comments for “The Candyman Gets the Best Patient Satisfaction Scores and Life in Prison

  1. Pat
    March 11, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    1) I would end the failed War on Drugs and legalize ALL drugs for adults (feel free to start screaming now), and let Darwinism have its way.
    2) I would end all state medical licensing, and encourage consumers to be informed. Then maybe board certification might mean something beyond a money grab.
    3) The dirtbag above still contributed to a patient’s death. Should there be the option of criminal charges given #1? Probably, but I’m not positive. I get that a real addict might even go to a “sexual health” clinic for narcs, and so selling them is evil. Criminal? They were both at fault and I’d never prosecute a bartender for overserving.
    “But, but, but…” I hear you cry, “how would we protect society from these candy men??” Tough call, I answer. But lately, every move to protect society ends up harming more innocents and restricting more freedoms than doing actual good, and I’m sick of being party to it. Legalize all the cross-border Fentanyl, and watch the profits drop, and the demand strangle from attrition.

  2. Lvoss
    March 11, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    I tell my patients – “I’m your doctor, not your friend” sometimes we have to have tough conversations because they are in your best interest. If done with compassion and caring and evidence based medicine you can still have satisfied patients. But the admins dinged me anyway because I spent too much time with my patients and didn’t make them enough money.

  3. Steve O'
    March 11, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Here’s the data. Prescription OD deaths. About 15,000 in 2012 to 17,000 in 2018. So far, the changes have effected a stabilization of prescription drug abuse.
    NPR shows similar data – heroin increasing, and fentanyl exploding.
    Look at the latter graph for the low OD rates attributed to oxycodone and hydrocodone. This rate includes diverted and trafficked oxycodone and hydrocodone.
    If the Department of Transportation took a similar approach, it would mandate seatbelts in all Ford Model T’s and Model A’s. Yes, people do die in Model T collisions. But is that the answer, or just an answer?

  4. Steve O'
    March 11, 2019 at 9:44 am

    There are certain conditions that are outside my scope of practice. Since prescribing opiates for pain management has become so complex, I find that prescribing opiates is outside my comfort zone for primary care. In making this decisions, one has to balance the risks and benefits. Now that the law has assigned all the risks onto me, and all the benefits to the patient, it is a no-brainer.
    Modern American Medicine’s motto is “let nature take its course.” So be it for chronic pain.
    Now, I’ve never had a death or injury from my prescribing – unless some dirtbag was selling prescriptions I wrote with the understanding that said individual did, in fact, have severe pain.
    Although the overdose death rate from prescription pharmaceuticals has remained fairly constant since 2011, but the overdose rate of fentanyl has gone up sevenfold, society’s answer is to punish and threaten those within reach – the pain patient with legitimate pain.
    Nevermind. Let nature take its course.

  5. PW
    March 11, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Patient satisfaction is deadly. The hospital where my wife works is so concerned about getting patients turned around in ER they are discharging before they have all testing results back. When someone dies because of it, there will be Hell to pay.

  6. Martha Clark, RN
    March 11, 2019 at 7:03 am

    I hate it when my doctor tells me I’m obese and that that swimming is an example of low-impact physical activity I should be doing, so I give him a low satisfaction score. Administrators then ‘smack him on the hand’ until he learns to stop discussing the benefits of physical activity with patients. He then learns to not discuss the benefits of physical activity, patients remain obese and die, administrators continue being happy.

    Is this right? No, but it’s how they want physicians to practice. And Dr. Henson found that patient satisfaction leads to big $$$. Bad combination!

Comments are closed.