An Update from US Pain Foundation

An Update from US Pain Foundation

By Staff.

You may (or may not) know that the U.S. Pain Foundation has been fighting an uphill battle, regarding a bombshell finding that “financial irregularities involving the former CEO of U.S. Pain Foundation” were discovered during an internal audit.

According to an independent attorney and a forensic accountant that the Board of Directors hired to investigate, “The findings were clear that this individual had misused funds from the U.S. Pain Foundation. The Board concluded that the former CEO repeatedly misled and concealed information from the Board of Directors and staff. The Board demanded and received the former CEO’s immediate resignation.”

According to a post from December, “Since then, we’ve been working diligently to rectify the situation. Steps that we’ve taken include alerting the appropriate legal authorities and cooperating fully in the investigation; seeking restitution of the misused funds; implementing a more robust system of checks and balances; and hiring a new interim chief financial officer, new counsel, and a new tax accountant.”

Over the last seven months, Chairman Nicole Hemmenway has been serving as the acting Interim CEO in charge of the difficult job of “righting the ship.”

We support the openness and honesty with which the U.S. Pain Foundation is proceeding, and wanted to share the update that we, along with all of their members, received.

The following email update was received on December 18th:

A Message from the U.S. Pain Foundation
To our incredible community,
For the past seven months, I have had the privilege of serving as interim CEO of the U.S. Pain Foundation. I take this role and responsibility incredibly seriously. This organization and its mission mean so much to me.
With that said, this has been a challenging time for the organization. I want to make sure you hear from me personally about the facts surrounding the situation.
On Friday, December 7, the Board of Directors and I posted a statement on the U.S. Pain website sharing that earlier this year, we were dismayed to discover financial irregularities involving the former CEO of U.S. Pain. The Board of Directors immediately hired an independent attorney and a forensic accountant to investigate this individual. The findings were clear that the former CEO had misused funds from the U.S. Pain Foundation. The Board concluded that the individual had repeatedly misled and concealed information from the Board of Directors and staff. The Board demanded and received the former CEO’s immediate resignation.
Since then, we have been working diligently to rectify the situation. We brought the actions of the former CEO to the attention of federal authorities and continue to cooperate with authorities. Other steps taken include seeking restitution of the misused funds; implementing a more robust system of checks and balances; and hiring an interim chief financial officer, new counsel, and a new tax accountant.
In the interest of transparency, I do want to respond to several questions that we have received.
We have not previously commented on these matters on the advice of counsel, due to the ongoing investigation. The organization has been working diligently with its interim chief financial officer and new accountant to prepare the 2016 and 2017 Returns while ensuring accurate accounting. The final 2016 and 2017 990 Returns, as well as the 2018 Return, will accurately establish the extent of the funds misused by the former CEO. We have posted another statement as of yesterday with further details.
As we work to resolve these issues, the organization continues to deliver on its important programs and events to support people with pain. With new policies and protective measures in place to strengthen the financial reporting and controls of the organization, we are committed to our mission to educate, connect, support and empower individuals living with pain.
The work U.S. Pain does is very important, and we are dedicated to continuing to serve you. Our programs — from support groups, to pediatric pain retreats, to education days, to advocacy efforts, to the INvisible Project — are so vital to the 50 million Americans living with chronic pain. Every day we hear from individuals like you, grateful for our efforts, and in need of even more support and help.
I want you to know that I hear you, and I understand. Living with complex regional pain syndrome, I know the challenges people with pain face. I understand the mounting medical bills and debt that accumulates while struggling to pay it off; the missing out on important and not-so-important (like going to the grocery store) moments in life; the stigma associated with living with a chronic illness; the aggravation of trying to receive necessary work and school accommodations; the feelings of insecurity, guilt, and loss.
I am committed to ensuring our programs and services continue to address these challenges and make a difference in your lives now and for years to come.
Nicole Hemmenway
Interim CEO
U.S. Pain Foundation

Authored by: Staff

newest oldest
Notify of
Debbie Nickels Heck, MD

I thought I’d left a reply when this was 1st posted. Yes, I find this completely disgusting. My husband is the Chief Investment Officer of a not for profit foundation himself so I’m intimately aware of how such institutions should be managed. I’ve traveled with him across the country meeting with people running companies with which they planned to invest doing due diligence to assure they were people that could be trusted as I can read people well and he taught me the financial jargon of the industry. I’ve also seen what can happen when the market suddenly drops and investment people get in panic mode. Some can act out of character and make poor decisions due to a blip and others never were of the proper character to handle other people’s money. I wish you well in finding a new CEO. Someone like me who knows and is committed to pain patients with enough sense to ask the right questions and unquestionable integrity.

S. McDougal

I have CRPS too but do not have a Dr that understands this disease. All my pain medications were taken away, leaving me to lose more and more ability to do for myself and the disease to spread like a raging wall of fire. I burn from my toes up to my head! Can barely walk and each shuffle is excruciating pain. I spend 99% of my time in bed now! I hate it and hate what has been done to us! When I was being treated from 1995 car accident that really messed up my back and gave me blinding headaches that would last week’s and originally lasted a full year!!! But then I had Drs that really cared!! They said then I would be on pain meds for the rest of my life, if they operated on my back then I would be paralyzed and on a breathing machine!!
My current PCP had given me 2 5/325 hydros a day, not enough to deal with CRPS but it was better than nothing. Then in November she said that because I am mostly bedbound I don’t deserve pain medication!!! They are discriminating against all CPP. What a sad day we are living in…. The days of Hitler coming back again only this time it is not Germany but the USA!!!


Since I became sick/disabled, it has shocking the amount greed,corruption,injustice that goes on. I never felt I was a nieve person, I just always felt good would win over evil & that there r more good people than evil, but that does seem to b the case. I hope these corrupt people see justice on earth but they need 2 remember, this is only one part of our eternal life, we all have 2 answer to God 4 our actions or in some people’s case they will answer to the devil. Religion has taken a back seat & it seems so many people r so selfish. So sad!

Debi Miller

I was diagnosed with rcps in 2004 when I had knee surgery done and the pain never went away after a year. Then PT people would not touch me again because of the pain issue I was having. I was well taken care of, while I lived in San Diego, my husband had to retire and we moved to Missouri Southwestern, and the doctors here are unbelievably not helping me, and make me feel as if I was a drug addict. I am 65 years old I was diagnosed in my 50s. I don’t know what to do, as we are labeled in the hospital’s ER rooms that’s on States, my record that I am an opiate drug risk. I forgot the word chronic. I to go all the way to St Louis Missouri the first year we lived here because of my RSD that I was diagnosed with. It’s a shame that I got to live what little years I got left being degraded, looked at differently here, and having to take pee test every flipping other month. My insurance will not cover all these urine test. They will cover one every year so I am left holding large bills for my own UA’s.
I also have been under a psychiatrist care for the last 18 years, and the doctor is now bothering me and telling me what I could take and what I can’t take,,
My doctor is not a psychiatrist and I have many mental problems and I can’t take much more of it. I had two sisters commit suicide because of their pain with back surgeries that they had that they messed their backs up so bad they were left with excruciating pain and took their lives in their own hands. I guess that’s what I’m going to have to do. Because I am so tired of The Stereotype of these drug addicts that actually abused their medicine, I take my medicines the way I’m supposed to take them. I don’t know what more these doctors or MD and all these people that label you, all I can say is I kind of wish that they would be hit with this RSD or rcps they keep changing it as they’re finding out it’s not in our heads. I can’t take much more. I’m 65 years old and I will be lucky if I make it to 70.
ENOUGH. Please

Molly Canfield

How someone can steal from an organization fighting to help people (children, the elderly) in pain is simply beyond me! I hope that this person is punished, pays restitution and serves time behind bars but after witnessing the way our justice system “functions”, my faith in this happening is pretty much nonexistent. Those in power break or ignore the laws, steal in addition to their (often) padded, government salaries and escape responsibility with a wink and a nod. It truly sickens and depresses me in seeing what our country has become. It seems that those of us who follow the rules, fight to work and earn an honest living while taking care of our families as best we can are pushed aside by those who victimize or cry “Im a victim! give me YOUR money!” I guess I’m worn down, exhausted and mighty discouraged to see that the world I grew up in no longer seems to exist. I’m laying awake at night and worrying about my daughters growing up/living in a society which seems depleted of honesty, common sense and integrity. (I won’t go on about daily, hourly violence.) Seeing a predator in our brotherhood of pain warriors was the k.o. punch that really brought me down today. Praying for a better tomorrow for ALL of us/U.S.

Anna Webb

Hi,my name is Anna webb, and I have been following you for quite some time. I, also have extreme pain that I deal with every day. Without my pain meds,I would not have any kind of life to speak of. I want to thank the US Pain Foundation, plus every body who stands up for all of us. Thank You

Jody Hoffman

Keep on doing the work that you are doing without you I’m afraid that nobody would ever know about the chronic pain patients that are being punished for the actions of others.

It happens more often then not. It took some BRASS to launch the investigation and uncover the crime.

US Pain came out and told everyone what happened and it’s plan to keep it from happening again. Move on and keep doing “ The job “

I think in no way does this damage the reputation of US Pain – now had that CEO been taking money from a Group or a Company with any Anti Pain Agenda then US Pain might never recover from it.

Keep up the Fight and Keep moving forward – that’s what you do in any battle.

My support for US Pain will continue with even greater vigor.


John J Sandherr

Alice Carroll

Very sad but the sick, the weak, the old and yes even children are more easily targeted for theft. It’s truly disgusting. Over the years I’ve been involved with several non-profit organizations. They have very little oversight and can stack their Boards with friends. It can be a License to Steal unfortunately. So many think money means prestige. Not me. I’m concerned with how it was obtained and respect those who work for the betterment of people and the planet.

Susan Domokos

So .. Ohio has mandated that anyone taking pain meds are not allowed to take Ativan Valium Klonopin Xanax or Ambien…so I have to choose between Percocet and Xanax.. any thoughts


Absolute “authority” in an…… and every organization CORRUPTS absolutely. Is there no more transparency anywhere……. concerning money? Pain advocacy representing the people is so very important yet corruption and private gan exists in too many organizations that claim to be helping people I am proud to have been a volunteer firefighter for 14 years as Assistant Chief without any monetary supplement for my time, my families patience, and the considerable money my family was willing to give up so that I and that 30 other very generous people in my community who trained to become firefighters/first responders in the community firefighter organization could assist others in an emergency situation. I will always remember the unselfish giving of time and personal funds of the people that served with me in a very necessary organization such as the community volunteer firefighter service. The good hearted, very giving people that have served in any capacity for the safety of our fellow man operate everyday, all across America an expect NOTHING back in return monetarily. The action of giving of ones self without ANY kind of bias be it political, social, racial, or possible monetary gain represent the true American Spirit. May justice be served on those that take advantage of the trusting people in this country.

Jan Thomas

I never cease to be amazed at how someone can steal from an organization such as this. I guess they can not see the faces behind the organization and that some how makes it ok! I do hope this person is punished and at least has to make restitution!!!! I’m sure he has moved on to some other unsuspecting organization!


The big problem is we are all put in the same category as heroin users, people who use black market pills or steal their friends or family’s and do not take as prescribed. The true pain patient who sees a physician every month, gets urine tested is not the problem. But we are being punished. It was JCAHO a Government agency that pushed hospitals into having pain clinics. I also wonder with the approval of marijuana that someone is getting a kick back to stop anyone from using pain medications. It’s all a bunch of BS!

I was struck by 2 texting drivers while waiting for a red light. This left me unable to walk or work. Having Medicare only, non orthopedic sergeon would operate on my hip that was seized up. My spinal severe blockage was inoperable. For 8 months I endured unimaginable pain until I was able to get a supplemental health care. Then I got a hip replacement. Both my knees need to be replaced. During this period I wss alsovdiagnosed with cancer. I opted to do watchful waiting. 3 months later my cancer doctor told me that they underestimated the severity of my cancer that was growing so fast that treatment was necessary ASAP. So I got the treatments. With the help of my pain medications in 6 months I was able to work a part time light duty job. Now they want to take away the very medications that make work possible at all. Physically and mentally working part time had helped me enormously. I still suffer and some nights get about 3 hours sleep. Without the medicines I will need a visiting nurse just to go to the bathroom, mentally I will be crushed not to be able to do some work. I have been a worker for 44 years. I feel like my life is worth something now , but add that pain back and the inability to work I would see no reason to be alive. Why can’t they see this? Or is it that that I have joined the ranks of the expendable part of our population. I honestly feel like I am living in Nazi Germany where disabled and very old people were euthanized even before the Jewish. How did our country disintegrate to this. What about all the decades I served and worked proudly for this country? Do they really mean nothing? My prayers for all facing similar fate from a country gone mad!