Doctors Urge CMS, Joint Commission to Rethink Pain Treatment to Help Stem Opioid Epidemic

April 15, 2016 – Marty Stempniak
Have patient satisfaction surveys and accreditation standards inadvertently contributed tothe ongoing opioid epidemic that’s killing tens of thousands of Americans a year? A group of doctors and other health care stakeholders thinks so, and they’re petitioning the organizations responsible to get them to change how patient pain is measured and treated.

Advocacy group Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing — in conjunction with dozens of other provider organizations — sent separate letters to both the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Wednesday, asking them to change pain management requirements that they say help to “foster dangerous prescribing practices.”

The group of docs specifically wants CMS to quash three questions about pain that are included in patient satisfaction surveys, and it’s urging the Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies health care organizations, to re-examine its pain management standards. Hospitals and docs must set aside expectations that they need to get pain down to zero. The focus, instead, should be on quality of living and how much pain gets in the way of living a “rewarding and healthy life,” says Harry Chen, M.D., the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health and one of the letters’ signees.



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Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President of Ortho Spine Partners and Partner for The De Angelis Group. He also serves as Co-Founder and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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