Wednesday, April 11, 2012

UPDATED: Legislative action to limit prescribing of narcotics in ER's expected by June 15

Hospital and free-standing  ER's over prescribe
narcotics like Percodan, Oxycontin, Vicodin 
UPDATED:  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it's recommended doctors limit prescription pain medications, especially opiates, prescribed through the emergency rooms.  Good to know, seeing Redmond has 5 Emergency Departments within ~12 miles and opiates like Oxycontin are extremely addicting and can be lethal.

Comment:  In February, a close family member (Jane) was admitted to Overlake Hospital ER by an Overlake-Redmond Urgent Care Physician's Assistant for recurring, moderate abdominal pain.  Even though we told the doctor that Jane had previous treatment and imaging for abdominal pain at Virginia Mason he didn't check her medical records or ask for details. Rather, he immediately put her on Hydro-morphine Inj and after a $7,605 charge for ER services, sent her home with a bottle of 12 narcotic pills and a diagnosis of abdominal pain even after a CT radiologists indicated constipation.  Jane took only two pills.  The next day laxatives relieved her pain.  Yes, it was constipation causing the pain (and opiates make constipation worse!) B.Y.

So, now what to do with the remaining 10 addicting pills?  Read More >>
Overlake won't take them, nor Evergreen or Group Health.  Probably the best bet is the city's Saturday, April 14 Recycling Day, 9:30 - 4 p.m.  The location is 18120 NE 76th Street, for Redmond residents only.  The "National Take Back Program" is in the Fall.  The Sammamish Police Department takes back Oxycontin, vicodin, and other narcotics. 

According to the Washington State Hospital Assoc, "a proposal is moving through the legislature to allow hospitals and physicians, rather than the state, to manage emergency department access and utilization. and to institute "best practices" that assure patients are treated in the appropriate setting for the level of care they require."  For example, treatment by a patient's Primary Care Physician rather an Emergency Room or Urgent Care may be more appropriate. 

If this proposal is enacted, hospitals are expected to devise and implement their plans by June 15, 2012.  One of the plan's goals is to enroll ER physicians in a "Prescription Monitoring Program" to limit narcotic prescribing in Emergency Departments.

Overlake Hospital participated with 52 other Washington State Hospital Assoc. members in an analysis of Potentially Avoidable Emergency Room Use in the State of Washington.  I'll be addressing this topic in the 3rd in my series of eight on healthcare on the eastside.

By Bob Yoder

I wanted to let you know that we are very aware of the problem. We have had legislation to regulate stand-alone ER's introduced the last few years but unfortunately have not been able to pass it. The hospital association has a lot of influence on both sides of the aisle so change is slow. Thanks for your work.
--Eileen Cody RN

Disclaimer, Overlake, Evergreen, Swedish and Group Health were my customers for over 15 years. I accompanied Jane to Overlake UC and ER.

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