To Buy Time After Overdose Patient Is Released From Hospital; Some States Mull Involuntary Rehab As An Answer
“Often people leave the emergency room, right back onto the street to find their next fix,” said Marylou Sudders, the Massachusetts secretary for Health and Human Services. States have been working to bridge this gap between hospitalization and getting a patient into a program, but Massachusetts has pitched a more aggressive approach.
The Wall Street Journal:
In Opioid Fight, Should States Consider Involuntary Rehab?
When Julia Raposa overdosed on opioids last year, she was rushed to a hospital in Leominster, Mass., where her aunt says she was treated and released within 90 minutes. Days later, Ms. Raposa’s next overdose killed her. A big challenge in the opioid crisis is getting overdose patients from emergency rooms into treatment. Failed opportunities can be fatal. In an aggressive, new proposal, Massachusetts authorities want to allow hospital staff to send overdose patients to treatment centers against their will for up to three days. The goal is to buy more time for addicts facing imminent risks to accept longer-term treatment. (Kamp, 12/13)
Researchers Say Mass. Effort To Influence Opioid Prescribing Failed
Last March, the state Department of Public Health sent a confidential letter to every health care provider who prescribes opioids and other controlled substances, showing how each practitioner’s prescribing practices compared with those of his or her peers. ...But an article in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine concludes that the letter probably didn’t work. (Freyer, 12/13)
In other news on the opioid crisis —
Kellyanne Conway, Top White House Aide, Is Leading An 'Opioids Cabinet'
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, has been leading weekly meetings at the White House with officials across a dozen federal departments to develop a plan to respond to the opioid crisis and to implement recommendations from a presidentially appointed commission, she and other officials told STAT. The “opioids cabinet,” as the group is known, is intended to help streamline efforts across the government and includes staffers from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, among other executive branch offices. (Facher, 12/14)
The Baltimore Sun:
CareFirst Plans To Help Curb Opioid Addiction Through Grants, Programs
After noticing a large uptick in claims for addiction treatment services, including expensive emergency room visits, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield administrators said Wednesday that the insurer was developing a comprehensive method of caring for its customers. The effort was announced by the state’s largest health insurer during an event at Baltimore City Hall, along with a plan to provide$1.5 million to nonprofit groups in the region to curb an opioid epidemic that has ravaged the city in particular. (Cohn, 12/13)
Kaiser Health News:
Telemedicine For Addiction Treatment? Picture Remains Fuzzy
When President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, it came with a regulatory change intended to make it easier for people to get care. The declaration allows for doctors to prescribe addiction medicine virtually, without ever seeing the patient in person. In Indiana, this kind of virtual visit has been legal since early 2017. But among a dozen addiction specialists in Indiana contacted by a reporter, just one had heard of doctors using telemedicine for opioid addiction treatment: Dr. Jay Joshi. (Forman, 12/14)