Opioid Prescribing: Protect Your Patients. Protect Your Practice.

By: Mitch Evans

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Date: 01/08/2020

Filed Under: opioid prescribing, prescribing protocols

Treating chronic pain in 2018?

You’ve probably made keeping up with the maze of opioid prescribing regulations part of your New Year’s resolution. And if you’re like most other practice leaders, that task can seem overwhelming. Keeping up with the latest CDC guidelines, state regulations, medical board licensing requirements, and payer policies can be a full-time job (or more).

Fortunately, we’re here to help. With a proactive approach, you can Protect Your Patients and Protect Your Practice.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Protect Your Patients. Protect Your Practice

4 steps to staying safe, responsible, and compliant in 2018

1) Understand which guidelines apply to your team

There are a lot to consider. Start with your state’s prescribing guidelines and legislative updates. Consider your professional society’s guidance (American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, for instance) or broader guidelines, like the CDC’s. Finally, determine any major payers in your network and research their policies and requirements, as they may affect your practice’s reimbursement.

If you need help on where to start, reach out to your local professional society or subscribe to our blog for upcoming analyses.

2) Build a process that works for your practice

Once you have the baseline place, it’s time to craft the processes that are right for your practice. There are several common activities. Consider the appropriate use and frequency of each:

  • Controlled substance treatment agreements
  • Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)
  • Functional assessments (e.g. PEG Scale)
  • Mental health assessments (e.g. PHQ-9)
  • Substance abuse risk screens (e.g. ORT)
  • Urine drug screens (presumptive and definitive)
  • Aberrant behavior screens (e.g. COMM)
  • Pill counts
  • Specialist physician consultations

As you build out your practice’s policies, consult frequently with clinicians and support staff. An internal policy only goes as far as its execution, which brings us to our next point.

3) Follow through on your new processes

Beyond selling your team on the What, How, and Why of the new policy, put into place the practical measures to ensure success. Build a program to train current and new employees. Leverage your EHR to make sure the processes fit seamlessly into clinical and staff workflow (shameless plug #1: software solutions, like AffirmHealth Dash, are great for this!). Document completion and compliance of your prescribing policies (shameless plug #2: software solutions, like AffirmHealth Dash, are great for this!).

Once the new processes are in motion, make a point to get team feedback on how things are going, and...

4) Evaluate, adapt, and improve

Last, but not least, your processes will adapt from year to year--just like the external guidelines that govern them. Review your team feedback notes and compliance reporting to identify bottlenecks, and constantly search for improvement.

Start protecting your practice and protecting your patients

With a proactive and committed approach, you'll ensure safe, responsible, and compliant prescribing across your practice in 2018. Ready to get started?

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