Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Carmel on the Case: Clinic Complaints
A Coconut Creek neighborhood is up in arms after a new clinic opens offering pain treatment. People who live and work around there say they're concerned about the people the clinic is attracting. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
WSVN -- The VIP Family Health Associates Clinic is located in a small office building in what neighbors say used to be a quiet corner of northwest Broward, but they say the area has been anything but quiet since the clinic opened its doors.
We were there as deputies questioned customers one afternoon. This woman had to be taken away on a stretcher. This man got arrested and this woman went after our camera.
Woman: "Do you have permission to do that?"
Carmel Cafiero: "No."
Photographer: "Don't touch me."
Carmel Cafiero: "Don't touch that camera lady."
Woman: "Do you have a permit to film these people?"
Carmel Cafiero: "Go away."
Woman: "No this is my office."
All this drama has neighbors concerned.
Rick: "This is absolutely ridiculous. Right next door to a kids day care here. Are you kidding me?"
Rick who asked we not use his last name lives nearby. He says neighborhood children are now limited as to where they can play.
Rick: "We can't have them down at this end of the street. You know they frequent the comic store. We cant have them down this way any more."
Neighbors also wonder about the customers backgrounds. Howard Nevetsky for example spent hours outside the clinic. It turns out, there was a warrant for his arrest for a violation of probation. Last summer, he admitted to dealing in stolen property.
Kenneth: "I'm waiting on someone to come out."
Some of the clinic's customers come from out of state like Kenneth from Kentucky.
Carmel Cafiero: "They're gonna get the prescription here, right?"
Kenneth: "The doctors really treats them right around here."
Carmel Cafiero: "And they don't treat them right in Kentucky?"
The owners of neighboring businesses are also concerned.
Jack Tokatlian: "I have very respectable customers and they're scared to come in."
Darby Kinni: "We get a lot of people loitering, coming in and out all day long and standing in line and sitting on the steps and coming in from other states and it's really strange."
According to the Department of Health, the facility is not registered as a pain clinic. According to state documents, Gordon Berman is president of VIP Family Health Associates.
Carmel Cafiero: "Can you stop for a sec?"
Although he ignored me, I caught up with Berman on another day.
Carmel Cafiero: "Can you tell me why you're not registered with the state as a pain clinic?"
Gordon Berman: "Cause we're not a pain clinic."
Carmel Cafiero: "The state says that if you use the word pain in any advertisement, which would include the word pain on the window that you have to be registered."
Gordon Berman: "Well you'll have to talk to my attorney about that."
Berman said he'd have his attorney call so far, no one has by state law they could use the word pain on the window as long as the doctors practicing there were primarily providing surgical services. According to state records, the doctors listed on the door are not surgeons.
Rick: "We don't want it around here by our kids. We don't want it around our families."
Meanwhile, the landlord says he has ordered the clinic out and they've agreed to move.
Customer: "Here's a picture for you. Put that on. Thank you."
Neighbors say it can't happen soon enough.
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