Elizabethtown Hematology Oncology settled an overpayment claim June 3 with the federal government for $3.7 million.
Amber Pike was 14 years old when she first became a patient at EHO.
RINEYVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A former
patient of an Elizabethtown cancer clinic is coming forward to share her
experience. Elizabethtown Hematology
Oncology settled an overpayment claim June 3 with the federal government for
Amber Pike is not a
medical doctor so she can't say for sure the reasons behind her lengthy chemo
infusions, but she does know that when she got a second diagnosis, EHO
ultimately was not the place she chose to go and she wants others to know why.
Just after a smiling
school picture was taken, Pike started treatments at Elizabethtown
Hematology Oncology for Stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma.
"I was a patient
there in 92, 93, 94. I started when I was 14 years old," she said.
As a teenager, she was
concerned about losing her hair. Losing time with her friends, though, was also
on her mind.
"I would go into the
office at noon and I would be there at their office until 7 or 8 o'clock
sometimes, well after the office doors had closed and everybody had gone home
for the night," she said.
For close to two years,
EHO battled back Pike's cancer. In what
may seem an unfair twist of fate, cancer came back into her life 16 years
later, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I went back to
E-town Hematology and Oncology because I had been their patient formerly,"
The treatment plan she was
given, she says, was 18 months of chemo and radiation. Amber sought a second and third opinion.
"Both James (Graham)
Brown and Norton gave me identical treatment plans as the other," she
said. "They both suggested that I needed about six months worth of chemo
and about six weeks of radiation."
She ultimately chose the Norton Cancer Institute, even though it meant a
longer drive from her home.
Amber has seen the claims
against EHO that it lengthened chemo infusion times to collect more money from
Medicare and Medicaid, among other government programs. She can't say if that has anything to do with
her experience. What she does know is
that she learned a valuable lesson that she wants to share with everyone.
responsible for their own healthcare," she said. "Doctors treat you, but you make the decisions as to where you need to go and what best fits into
your treatment plan, your own particular situation."
It's important to note that EHO maintains it did nothing
wrong and there was never any allegation of patient harm or injury. An attorney for the clinic said via email
that he was prevented from addressing Amber's specific claims because of
federal privacy laws. He added illnesses,
circumstances and treatments vary and that techniques for treating cancer
have advanced in the last decades and even the last few years.