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.