Hospital Customer Surveys Creating Powerful Incentive To Prescribe Opioids, Some Worry
Surveys asking patients about their experience also include a question about how their doctor helped manage their pain. But in the midst of a raging opioid crisis, some think it's creating pressure on the providers to get the best ratings possible. Meanwhile, insurance rules make it tough for patients to get a drug that helps ease cravings.
The New York Times:
Vexing Question On Patient Surveys: Did We Ease Your Pain?
The questionnaire arrives in the mail a few days after a patient’s discharge from the hospital. Did doctors treat you respectfully? Was your bathroom kept clean? Most of the queries seem mundane, but a backlash has been growing against one: Did staff members do everything they could for your pain? (Hoffman and Tavernise, 8/4)
KHN earlier, related coverage: Doctors Wrestle With Mixed Messages When Deciding Whether To Prescribe Painkillers (Luthra, 6/28)
Insurance Rules Can Hamper Recovery From Opioid Addiction
Twice a day, Angela and Nate Turner of Greenwood, Ind., put tiny strips that look like tinted tape under their tongues. "They taste disgusting," Angela says. But the taste is worth it to her. The dissolvable strips are actually a drug called Suboxone, which helps control an opioid user's cravings for the drug. The married couple both got addicted to prescription painkillers following injuries several years ago, and they decided to go into recovery this year. With Suboxone, they don't have to worry about how they'll get drugs, or how sick they'll feel if they don't. (Harper, 8/5)
And in news from the courts —
The Associated Press:
No Prison Time For Ailing Doc Convicted In Federal Drug Case
A Frederick physician who fled to Panama amid allegations he overprescribed addictive painkillers won’t serve prison time for his federal fraud conviction. In a document filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, his lawyer says 81-year-old Nicola Tauraso is receiving hospice care and is medically incompetent to make decisions. Defense attorney Elizabeth Oyer says she and prosecutors have agreed to jointly recommend no prison time. (8/4)
Health News Florida:
Doctor’s Conviction Upheld In Pill Mill Case
A state appeals court Wednesday rejected the arguments of a Broward County doctor who was convicted on charges including racketeering and trafficking in oxycodone after an undercover investigation of a pill mill. A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal rejected arguments that it should reverse the 2014 conviction of Thomas Rodenberg, 57. (8/4)