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Workshop Highlights Opioid Best Practices, Features Remarks from PA Secretary of Health

May 21, 2018

Hospital and health system clinical leaders, as well as members of the health care community, met today in Harrisburg to participate in an opioid workshop and discuss best practices and new ideas to address the crisis in Pennsylvania.

This workshop was held in conjunction with HAP’s annual Leadership Summit, which brings together hospital leaders, policymakers, and members of the health care community for an opportunity to share ideas and best practices, and discuss the most pressing issues facing hospitals.

Today’s preconference workshop featured presentations that outlined innovative components of the health care community’s work to address the opioid crisis.

Two presentations featured deep dives into medication-assisted treatment (MAT):  Michael Lynch, M.D., the Medical Director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center presented “Emergency Department Initiation of Medication-assisted Treatment” and Amanda Flicker, M.D., Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Medical Director of Obstetrics (OB) presented “MAT and Linkage to Treatment in OB Patients.”

MAT is an evidence-based treatment option for substance use disorder patients. It is associated with increased abstinence from opioids, improved social function, decreased mortality, as well as reductions in instances of HIV and Hepatitis C.

The third presentation featured Krista Tarducci, Nurse Navigator, Hanna Lacko, Director of Quality and Patient Safety, and Erin Nardello, PA-C, from Penn Medicine University City’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery discussing their research, “Hip and Knee Anthroplasty Multimodal Acute and Post-acute Pain Management Pathway.”

Rachel Levine, M.D., Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, delivered the workshop’s opening remarks, characterizing the opioid crisis as the most pressing public health issue in Pennsylvania, with more than 4,600 overdose deaths during 2016 and—according to preliminary data—more than 5,000 overdose deaths during 2017.

Dr. Levine stressed that the crisis extends across the commonwealth, touching urban, suburban, and rural regions. She said that social determinants of health—including issues such as economic security, and availability of jobs, housing, and food—can contribute to the severity of substance use disorder in a region.

Dr. Levine praised the hospital community’s partnership in addressing the crisis, and updated attendees about state government’s efforts to implement a coordinated response. She emphasized opioid stewardship—in which physicians are working to use opioids “more carefully and judiciously”—and highlighted some early successes of the Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Database (PDMP). Since its inception, overdoses have dropped 13.4 percent and doctor shopping has been virtually eliminated. The Department of Health currently is working to integrate electronic health records into the PDMP to maximize the program’s efficacy.

Speaking prior to the presentations, Michael J. Consuelos, M.D., MBA, HAP’s senior vice president, clinical integration, thanked Secretary Levine for the Department of Health’s efforts and underscored the hospital community’s commitment to working with state government to address the opioid crisis. Consuelos emphasized the hospital community’s position that substance use disorder is a chronic medical condition and that treatment plans must integrate behavioral health care and physical medicine.

Pennsylvania’s hospitals and health systems are dedicated partners in addressing the opioid crisis. Hospitals and health systems across the commonwealth are collaborating with federal, state, and local governments; conducting innovative research; serving as Centers of Excellence; implementing warm hand-off protocols; supporting overdose education and prevention programs; and limiting the quantity and duration of opioid prescriptions.

For more information about the workshop and the hospital community’s work to address the opioid crisis, contact Michael J. Consuelos, M.D., HAP’s senior vice president, clinical integration.

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