By Blair Childs, senior vice president of public affairs, Premier Inc.
Premier and its alliance members strongly support the President’s declaration of the opioid epidemic as a public health emergency. This move helps ease regulations, allowing state and local officials to redirect funds to address the epidemic as well as expands use of telemedicine to treat those with opioid addiction. As an organization that is dedicated to spreading and scaling tools, resources and practices focused on improving healthcare quality and patient safety, Premier is working closely with our members on tackling opioid addiction, overuse and misuse by actively engaging in a variety of strategies aimed at addressing the epidemic.
- Implement, Share and Scale Evidence-Based Care Delivery Models: As part of Premier’s Hospital Improvement Innovation Network with CMS, Premier has launched a pilot program with 30 leading hospitals and the American Society of Anesthesiologists. We’re partnering with providers on care redesign efforts to disrupt workflows with new pain management strategies, including partnering with patients and families on pain management expectations, and providing clinician education to closely monitor safe and appropriate opioid screening, prescribing, dispensing and administration. This work is designed to serve as a model that can be expanded to all hospitals nationwide as essential best practices on shifting the way patients are treated with opioids.
- Clinician Education: The Premier Safety Institute® is the preeminent source on patient safety for clinicians with curated content to spotlight effective pain management education in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
- Medication Surveillance Tools: Premier uses automated technology solutions to benchmark performance and help clinicians with opioid management. Physicians and other clinical staff can receive real-time alerts on high-risk drugs and drug combination interactions, patients prescribed high-dose long acting/extended release opioids, recommendations for co-prescribing naloxone, and tools for patient and family naloxone use education prior to discharge. We also equip our members with benchmarking and insights on opioid prescribing in the emergency room that can help them identify inappropriate use of opioids.
- Advocacy: We continue to be focused on removing policy impediments that create barriers in tackling the opioid epidemic. In particular, we strongly encourage lawmakers to pass legislation (S.1850 and H.R.3545) that would align 42 CFR Part 2 with HIPAA for the purposes of healthcare treatment, payment, and operations, allowing CMS and other payers to share key information on patients’ substance use to their providers and enable better and safer care management. The bill reforms an outdated 1970s law that prevents clinicians from gaining access to data on patients with substance use diagnosis.
— Blair Childs, senior vice president of public affairs, Premier Inc.