AffirmHealth Blog

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Opioid Tapering: Risks & Benefits from a Pain Management Leader

May 22, 2018 5:11:00 AM by Dr. John "Rett" Blake posted in chronic pain, Pain Management, opioid prescribing, tapering

Determining when to taper 

We hear a lot about opioid tapering from multiple different sources these days. It is mentioned in CDC guidelines and we get it from insurance companies as well. It seems that the insurance companies are trying to force you to taper all of your patients off of opioids, but as clinicians we know that some patients benefit from them and need them to maintain quality of life. So, how do we know who should be tapered? For me, the answer lies in the balance between risks and benefits. When the risks of any medication outweigh the benefits, then we should stop it. These risks can also be applied to the community if a patient is diverting their opioids.

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A Platform to Facilitate Opioid Prescribing Compliance

Feb 15, 2018 7:30:00 AM by Dr. John "Rett" Blake posted in Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, opioid prescribing, opioid prescribing compliance

The Challenges Facing Pain Management Clinicians

Managing pain patients can be a scary thing these days. It seems that every time I open the newspaper or check my email I read a story about a doctor getting into trouble of some sort or another related to prescribing opioids. There are cases of doctors being federally prosecuted and convicted of criminal charges, instances of physicians losing their medical licenses from state medical boards, and plenty of examples of providers getting dropped from insurance networks for having prescribing patterns that don’t line up well with the company’s metrics. As such,  companies now examine claims data from insurance companies and measure the performance of healthcare providers relative to their peers or other set measures. These comparisons can then be used against those providers. In short, with constantly inscreasing regulations around prescribing and managing chronic pain, there is no shortage of ways to get into trouble when it comes to prescribing controlled substances.

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