Patients scramble to find new providers after doctor's license suspended


STEVENSVILLE, Mont. - Patients of a Florence doctor whose license was suspended by the Montana Board of Medical Examiners Monday are scrambling to find new health care providers.

In suspending Dr. Chris Christensen's license, the board cited the deaths of two patients who died from drug overdoses, and over-prescribing of controlled substances.

Big Creek Family Medicine and Urgent Care in Florence is closed.

Some of Dr. Christensen's patients are coming in droves to see Stevensville family nurse practitioner Janel Jones. Jones said many are panicking because they can't get their prescriptions filled.

The nurse practitioner said some of those patients require simple medical attention. But she said others, who struggle with pain management, need more time and attention.

Jones said among many of those patients, she sees evidence of over-prescribing.

"I'm seeing people with basic arthritis," said Jones, "not even to the point where they have had any joint replacement or operations, and they are at levels where you'd see people after 20 and 30 years of chronic pain, where their levels are maxed out."

Jones said she is screening patients to see if they might be a good fit for her practice, and is trying to direct others to other providers.

Her clinic is not a pain management center. She practices both traditional and holistic medicine.

But she said since the closing of Big Creek Family Medicine and Urgent Care in Florence, her patient load has doubled.

Authorities raided Christensen's office two weeks ago. No criminal charges have been filed against him.

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