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  • January 12, 2018 11:52 AM | Deleted user
    Premier survey shows executives at U.S. health systems are prioritizing their response to the crisis because technology may be among the most important tools to manage it.
    By Mike Miliard
    01:02 PM

    As the opioid crisis continues to ravage the United States, hospitals and health systems are on the front lines of the battle. Commanding majorities of C-suite leaders say their organizations see the epidemic as one of their top priorities – and are marshaling technology resources to help fight it.

    A new survey from Premier shows that 90 percent of execs from member health systems are focusing on the opioid crisis as an imperative for 2018. Hospital leaders are focusing their efforts on assessing patients to evaluate their pain levels upon admission, educating their staff about resources for safe opioid use and exploring alternative methods for pain relief, the study shows.

    Patient education is key too, of course, and health systems are focusing on engaging those patients on smart pain management treatment and safe use of opioids. They're also collaborating with state, local and community partners.

    But in the opioid battle, technology may be among the most important tools: Health systems are increasingly relying on advanced clinical decision support, automated patient alerts, e-prescribing practices and continuous electronic monitoring of patient-controlled analgesia, according to Premier.

    Premier CEO Susan DeVore said Premier’s members are striving to improve pain management issues to reduce misuse and addiction. 

    To that end, Premier offers its members medication surveillance tools that can give them real-time alerts on high-risk drugs and dangerous drug-drug interactions, monitoring patients who are prescribed high-dose or long-acting/extended-release opioids. The technology also offers advice and recommendations for co-prescribing naloxone and feature educational tools for patient and families who may need to administer naloxone in cases of overdose.

    Those hospitals taking part in Premier’s Hospital Improvement Innovation Network, meanwhile – it's part of the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services Partnership for Patients program – are also participating in an initiative to measurably improve pain management among providers, clinicians and patients/families.

    Premier also recently launched its Safer Post-operative Pain Management pilot program, with more than 30 hospitals working together to redesign care delivery processes to better manage pain and the potential for drug addiction.

    The alliance has also published a Safer Pain Management Toolkit for its 3,750 hospitals and 130,000 provider members. If provides a repository of all Premier group purchasing contracts, suppliers, services and programs in the pain management space and allows members to search for alternative therapies, devices that monitor oxygen and carbon dioxide levels to avoid respiratory-related side effects and infection prevention treatments to improve the immune system’s response to opioids.

    The toolkit also offers analytics on opioid visits, utilization and prescribing practices in the emergency department at nearly 650 Premier hospitals, allowing other providers to benchmark themselves against against national data.

    Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
    Email the writer:

  • January 09, 2018 1:01 PM | Deleted user

    More than 80 percent of Wisconsin counties are suing opioid manufacturers for alleged aggressive and fraudulent marketing of painkillers.

    Twelve additional counties joined the lawsuit Friday, bringing the total number of Wisconsin counties suing drugmakers to 60. The lawsuit is being led by Milwaukee-based Crueger Dickinson and Simmons Hanly Conroy, a law firm with offices throughout the country.

    The counties allege that drug companies pursued a deceptive marketing campaign that's led local governments to spend millions fighting the opioid epidemic. The drug companies, which include Purdue Pharma, deny wrongdoing.

    Simmons Hanly Conroy has launched similar lawsuits in Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, New York and Pennsylvania

  • January 04, 2018 12:20 PM | Deleted user

    Share Your Story!

    Be a Part of the #WhyITreatAddiction Campaign. Share Your Story!

    ASAM would like to hear your story about why you treat addiction.​ Between now and January 31st, share your story and enter the chance to be featured in a possible ASAM national campaign.

    Share now!

    • While we would love to hear all stories, selected winners must be current 2018 members of ASAM.
    • Stories are limited to 200 words or less.
    • Every story must start with “I treat addiction because...” (This does not count towards the word count.)
    • Selected winners will be notified by email.

    Disclaimer: If your story is selected, we may require a high-quality photograph of you to accompany your story. Winning stories will go through a editing and vetting process and are subject to minor changes which will be sent for your approval before any publication. The winning stories will be shared publicly, and further participant background information may be required.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • January 04, 2018 12:18 PM | Deleted user

    For Immediate Release

    January 4, 2018

    Contact: Jennifer Miller/Elizabeth Goodsitt (608) 266-1683

    DHS Announces New Substance Use Treatment Options in High Need Areas

    Four grants issued to expand services for treatment of opioid and methamphetamine addiction

    The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has awarded grants to four organizations to establish treatment services for opioid and methamphetamine addictions in areas of the state most in need of help. 

    “Accessible addiction services are a vital part of our plan to treat Wisconsin’s opioid and methamphetamine problems,” said DHS Secretary Linda Seemeyer. “People who are struggling with the chronic disease of addiction need supports close to home, to help them manage their recovery. This investment moves us closer to our vision of everyone living their best life.” 

    View the entire news release.

  • January 03, 2018 6:32 PM | Deleted user

    For Immediate Release

    January 3, 2018

    Contact: Jennifer Miller/Elizabeth Goodsitt (608) 266-1683

    DHS Announces New Grants to Support Graduate Medical Education

    The Medical Residency Programs help increase access to health care in rural and underserved areas

    Grants totaling more than $2.9 million to support development of three new residency programs and eight new resident positions in current programs were announced today by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Launched in July 2014, the DHS Graduate Medical Education (GME) Initiative builds on numerous partnerships among hospitals and clinics, health systems and academic institutions to expand graduate medical education (GME) and helps  ensure access to quality health care in rural and other underserved areas of the state.

    View the entire news release.


  • January 02, 2018 11:53 AM | Deleted user
    December 20, Wisconsin Health News

    An Assembly committee is planning to take up a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would allow providers in free and charitable clinics to apply for a loan forgiveness program that now targets those working in underserved areas.

    The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health administers the program for those who practice in federally-designated shortage areas for healthcare providers or for federally qualified health centers. The bill would add workers at free and charitable clinics to that list.

    Under the program, physicians and dentists working 32 hours a week for three years are eligible to have up to $50,000 of their loans repaid. Physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, dental hygienists and nurse practitioners who work the same amount of time may receive up to $25,000 in loan forgiveness.

    Sara Nichols, executive director of Open Arms Free Clinic in Elkhorn, told lawmakers at a public hearing last week that they recently received a federal grant to hire a dentist and dental hygienist.

    “We can’t hire a hygienist,” she said. “We can’t find them. We have no carrot to wave because we have no loan forgiveness program.”

    Lake Area Free Clinic in Oconomowoc recently opened its own dental clinic and is planning to hire two full-time dentists, according to Medical Director Dr. Peter Geiss.

    “We’re not really competitive right now, and it’s difficult for us to hire dentists as well as dental hygienists,” he said. The bill “would help us dramatically,” he said.

    Katherine Gaulke, Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinics executive director, said they pursued the legislation in part because the Department of Health Services ended a waiver that allowed dentists to volunteer and serve BadgerCare patients in free clinics without having to be certified by the program.

    “We just want to get on an even playing field with the other partners in the safety net,” she said.

    The program now serves around 20 out of 50 applicants a year, said John Eich, director of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health.

    The proposal doesn’t add new money to the program, and Eich said that additional applicants would be judged “on equal footing” with existing applicants.

    He doesn’t anticipate seeing many additional applicants under the bill as it’s “very unusual” for providers to volunteer that amount of time or be paid by a clinic. 

  • December 18, 2017 1:49 PM | Deleted user

    The Wisconsin Partnership Program has awarded almost $400,000 in two-year grants to eight projects in the state, according to a recent statement.

    They’re the first set of projects awarded through the program’s Community Catalyst Grant Program.

    The grants were:

    ·     $50,000 to WisconsinEye to create and distribute curriculum for a documentary featuring young Wisconsinites sharing their stories of opioid and heroin addiction and recovery.

    ·     $50,000 to Great Lakes Dryhootch to support development of an online space to provide peer-based mental healthcare to veterans.

    ·     $38,500 to Nehemiah Community Development Corporation to create a University of Wisconsin class on providing healthcare to incarcerated individuals.

    ·     $50,000 to the Milwaukee Inter-City Congregation Allies for Hope and Leaders Igniting Transformation to improve opportunities for Milwaukee youth at risk of expulsion and incarceration.

    ·     $50,000 to complete development of HealthConnect.Link, a website that aims to help residents of Dane, Rock and Sauk counties access healthcare and social services.

    ·     $50,000 to Centro Hispano of Dane County to create an educational program to train community health workers on how to reduce health disparities affecting Latina postpartum women.

    ·     $50,000 to Supporting Families Together Association to address health inequities associated with childhood abuse and neglect.

    ·     $50,000 to expand Wood County’s River Riders Bike Share Program.

  • December 18, 2017 1:45 PM | Deleted user

    The state Department of Justice continues to investigate the role pharmaceutical manufacturers played in creating the opioid epidemic.

    Attorney General Brad Schimel announced in June that he was working with a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in an ongoing investigation. He said Friday that they recently subpoenaed five drugmakers.

    About two-thirds of Wisconsin counties have sued opioid manufacturers alleging that their marketing practices helped the epidemic. The companies have denied the allegations.

    Two Democratic senators called on Schimel to hold drug companies accountable last month. 

  • December 14, 2017 4:22 PM | Deleted user

    December 13, 2017

    Dear Partners:

    nidamed_FB_Tw_hands_prescription-bottle-11.28..jpgWe are excited to share the findings of a new study conducted within the NIDA Clinical Trials Network, which suggests that a buprenorphine/naloxone combination and an extended release naltrexone formulation show similar patient outcomes in the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) once the medications are initiated. As hypothesized, it was more difficult for active opioid users to initiate treatment with naltrexone, since using this drug requires complete detoxification.

    "The good news is we filled the evidentiary void, and also learned that, for those who were able to initiate treatment, the outcomes were essentially identical, as were adverse events," said John Rotrosen, M.D., the study lead investigator. "This gives patients the freedom to choose a treatment approach that best suits their lifestyle, goals, and wishes."

    More on OUD Treatment
    Visit the NIDAMED Treatment Information page for other OUD treatment study findings and for resources on opioid and drug addiction treatment for both clinicians and patients.

    Share the News!
    Please share this message with members, peers, and colleagues and visit NIDAMED for updates on on the rapidly evolving field of opioid treatment. If you would like sample promotional material (e.g., social media messages, graphics, or brief text) to share this information, please contact the NIDAMED coordinator, Michelle Corbin.

    With kind regards,


    Follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

  • December 14, 2017 11:28 AM | Deleted user

    By Steven Reinberg
    HealthDay Reporter

    WEDNESDAY, Dec. 13, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Opioid painkillers after surgery can be the first step toward addiction for some patients. But a common drug might cut the amount of narcotics that patients need, a new study finds.

    When patients received a non-opioid medication called gabapentin before and after surgery, the need for continued opioid painkillers was reduced by 24 percent, said researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine.

    The finding comes amid an opioid epidemic in the United States. Since 1999, overdose deaths have quadrupled, in large part due to abuse of prescription painkillers such as OxyContin (oxycodone) or heroin.

    "Our country is facing an opioid crisis, and a lot of people are exposed to opioids after surgery," said researcher Dr. Sean Mackey, chief of the division of pain medicine.

    More than 51 million Americans undergo surgery each year, according to background notes in the study. Most are given opioid painkillers afterward, and up to 13 percent become habitual users.

    "There are some people who are vulnerable to the addictive proprieties of these drugs," Mackey said. "We would prefer to find ways of not having people get into problems with opioids."

    Gabapentin (brand names: Neurontin, Gralise) is used to help prevent seizures and ease nerve pain from shingles. It's available as a generic, so it is inexpensive and covered by most drug plans.

    Now, it appears to reduce the time patients feel they need opioid relief by a "modest" amount, the researchers said.

    "This means that people are less likely to become addicted to opioids and less likely to have the side effects of an opioid," Mackey said.

    Those side effects can include sedation, nausea and constipation.

    Surprisingly, the drug had no effect on how long it took for post-operative pain to subside, Mackey said. But it did effect how long patients needed opioids.

    For the study, Mackey and his colleagues randomly assigned 410 surgical patients to receive gabapentin or a placebo before surgery and for three days afterward. Patients were followed for up to two years.

    Procedures included chest surgery, knee replacements, and hand and breast surgery, to name a few. The study found that gabapentin seemed to help regardless of the type of operation.

    It's not clear how gabapentin might reduce the need for opioids, Mackey said. Perhaps it's changing brain chemistry after surgery, he said.

    "It's probably having pain-relieving properties along with the opioid, and you don't need so many opioids because the effects of the gabapentin are long-lasting," he said.

    Gabapentin is considered nonaddictive.

    Mackey said more work needs to be done to determine which patients would benefit most from gabapentin, at what dose and for how long.

    It's also possible that gabapentin might benefit patients with pain from trauma. Given in the emergency room, it might help reduce the need for opioids, and thus help to prevent addiction in that setting, he said.

    The findings were published online Dec. 13 in the journal JAMA Surgery.

    Dr. Michael Ashburn is director of pain medicine at the Penn Pain Medicine Center in Philadelphia. He said this study may have important implications.

    "This and other studies have reported that the duration of opioid administration may impact whether or not patients transition to chronic opioids after surgery," said Ashburn, co-author of an accompanying journal editorial.

    Although gabapentin doesn't seem to reduce the length of time it takes for pain to cease after surgery, it "may allow for opioids to be discontinued more quickly following surgery," Ashburn said.

    Giving gabapentin after surgery is already part of clinical practice at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said Dr. Kiran Patel.

    "I am constantly looking for ways to reduce opioid requirements and to get patients off opioids so they don't transition to chronic opioid use," said Patel, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist at the hospital.

    There are ways to manage pain aside from opioids and anti-inflammatories after surgery, she noted. "Incorporating them with the right patients, we might be able to reduce their overall use of opioids," she said.

    More information

    For more about opioid use, visit the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    SOURCES: Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D., chief, pain medicine, and director, Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif.; Michael Ashburn, M.D., M.P.H., professor, anesthesiology and critical care, and director, pain medicine, Penn Pain Medicine Center, Philadelphia; Kiran Patel, M.D., anesthesiologist and pain management specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Dec. 13, 2017, JAMA Surgery, online

    Last Updated: Dec 13, 2017

    Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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