ASA President Participates in CMS Summit on the Opioid Crisis
On December 13, 2017, ASA President James Grant, M.D. presented at a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) listening summit about the nation’s opioid crisis.
Dr. Grant, the only physician anesthesiologist present, highlighted the role of physician anesthesiologists, emphasizing their unique role in understanding the intricacy of post-surgical pain and alternative treatment options to best manage this pain. He also discussed the segment of ASA membership that specialize in pain medicine and treat complex patients affected by ongoing chronic pain.
Senior staff from CMS discussed future plans and initiatives that the agency plans to engage in to address the opioid epidemic. CMS will place large emphasis on data and examine what kind of data collection and analysis is necessary to solve the opioid problem. They also noted the agency will continue to examine regulatory and statutory impediments for both patients and providers— seeking input on specific challenges impacting stakeholders, as well as what CMS can do to expand e-prescribing and interoperability in electronic health records and prescription drug monitoring programs. Notably, the agency is also focusing on what they can do to assist with coverage for alternative therapies. Many patients receive opioids because it is a low-cost treatment option and there is broad coverage by most health plans.
ASA was pleased to hear that CMS is exploring opportunities for public-private-partnerships in 2018. This could be a unique opportunity for ASA to have an impact on the opioid epidemic by working directly with hospitals. ASA would be interested in collaborating with CMS on initiatives to educate hospitals on best practices on opioid pain management. Physician anesthesiologists can be integral to reducing opioid use throughout the perioperative period and upon discharge—partnering with patients and families on pain management expectations, as well as education on the safe use, storage and disposal of opioids, and the prevention of opioid misuse and abuse post discharge. Using this approach would help change both hospital and care provider practices, as well as reduce the number of opioids in American households. A partnership with CMS would enable ASA and physician anesthesiologists to scale these practices to many hospital systems, enabling broad change across the care continuum and benefits patients.
These practices are already being tested in a pilot project, through collaboration with ASA and the hospitals of Premier Inc and it’s being carried out through the CMS Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks (HIIN), which Premier is a member. ASA physician-members are providing education on evidence-based practice to the participating hospitals.
ASA is committed to finding solutions to the opioid epidemic and will continue to work with partner organizations, federal agencies and Congress to implement change.
Learn more about the ASA-Premier Opioid Collaborative.
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