Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
An addiction-treatment physician fatally shot a troubled ex-Marine after the man pummeled him inside his California office, police records show. The tragedy illustrates how the limited number of clinics available to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug that all but erases opioid withdrawal, can become crowded, chaotic and dangerous.
The Trump administration has talked about prioritizing the opioid crisis, but states have seen little in the way of new resources. And, in some states, getting into treatment is becoming even harder.
The collaboration known as ALTO, Alternatives to Opioids, set out to reduce opioid doses in the emergency room by 15 percent. It managed a 36 percent reduction instead.
Fentanyl, a significant cause of overdoses and deaths across the country, has begun showing up in California street drugs. State health officials have responded with a bold but controversial policy: paying for test strips so users can check their stash.
Andrey Ostrovsky, who until last month was chief medical officer for Medicaid, quit his job so he could more directly fight the stigma of drug addiction.
Philadelphia officials gave the OK to establishing safe-injection sites for drug users. But it’s unclear where the sites would be located and who would fund and operate them.
“We really do have a lot of responsibility and culpability,” says one hospital official who is part of a working group trying to address the opioid epidemic. Patients have to expect more pain after surgery and understand the risk of addiction, says another doctor.
Studies show promising results for a treatment approach that tackles chronic pain and addiction together, but obstacles stand in the way of this integrated care.
Fatalities are climbing in states that have been flooded by the deadly opioid fentanyl, but are remaining flat — or even falling — in many Western states, where the drug has not yet been as common as other parts of the country.
Even though voters in Maine decided to expand Medicaid through a ballot measure, the law’s fate is still unclear. Gov. Paul LePage says the Legislature must find funds for it without raising taxes. Advocates say the law is on their side and expansion must be implemented.
Laws in California and most other states allow pharmacists to provide naloxone to patients or their friends without a doctor’s prescription. But many don’t do so, citing lack of demand and awareness among patients, their own fears of insufficient compensation and the challenges of treating opioid users.
Arizona is one of a few states that have declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. There’s no uniformity in what that means from state to state, though, and even within Arizona, there’s a wide divergence of opinion on how best to tackle the problem.
One Indiana addiction specialist doesn’t shy away from telemedicine, but he still requires in-person visits to begin and maintain his patients’ Suboxone prescriptions.
Based on research conducted at the University of Michigan’s medical center, a group of surgeons developed a strategy to help post-surgical patients from misusing or abusing their prescription painkillers.
Behavioral care was four times more likely to be out-of-network than medical or surgical care, an analysis by Milliman shows.
Following minor surgery, KHN’s consumer columnist sees how easily doctors offer pain pills, fueling epidemic of opioid addiction.
Doctors and pharmacists in Northern California are emulating drug company sales reps with a fresh purpose in mind: They visit medical offices in the hardest-hit counties to change their peers’ prescribing habits and curtail the use of painkillers.
States are adding a variety of services, including expansions of mental health and substance abuse treatments and dental care, according to a 50-state survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Under a five-year agreement with the federal government, California is using Medicaid dollars to expand drug treatment, including more inpatient care and a broader range of medications.
As more patients receive hospice care at home, some of the powerful, addictive drugs they’re prescribed are ending up in the wrong hands.