Most recently, the Obama Administration has appeared to be on the side of combatting the heroin and prescription pill epidemic. President Obama himself, has sat on panels, appeared with celebrity, Macklemore, and has addressed Congress, all in hopes to pass a bill that would further the resources for the treatment of addiction.
What has not been mentioned, or maybe even realized for that matter, are the particular stipulations required under the Affordable Care Act. In order for hospitals to get the funding required to treat patients, they must receive positive feedback from patient surveys. These surveys are geared to ask questions targeting pain management and its treatment. Questions such as “During this hospital stay, how often did the hospital staff do everything they could to help you with your pain?” Originally designed to reward effective care, these surveys have now turned into a misconstrued reason to prescribe medication.
Although not a leading cause for prescription medication addiction, physicians feel as though they are placed in an impossible situation. On one hand, the government is telling them they need to have a patient’s pain under control, but the number of those addicted and of those dying from overdose are skyrocketing at record speed. Virtually half of physicians in a 2014 survey reported prescribing inappropriate pain meds due to the patient satisfaction surveys. Doctors have said that these surveys are worded in a way that have them fearing lower reimbursement of funding, if patients do not respond with a positive answer.
Congress is currently trying to annul this clause within Obamacare. Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) presented the PROP Act (Promoting Responsible Opioid Prescribing Act) in February of this year. The bill’s purpose is to remove any penalties on physicians who refuse to prescribe pain medications to patients who may no longer be in need of them. This in turn will give the power back to doctors, rather than allowing it to be in the hands of the federal government.
While most of President Obama’s efforts in fighting opioid addiction are compelling, maybe he and his Administration should take a look into his own healthcare and policies. His proposed bill of $1.1 billion has specific points to regulate how much doctors prescribe, which in theory sounds fantastic, but in actuality may be difficult to do with the Affordable Care Act’s regulations. How much doctors prescribe shouldn’t be the only piece considered, but also the reasoning behind prescribing. Is it out of medical necessity or fear of not receiving the funding that hospitals need to stay afloat?
For decades, Clearbrook has heard stories of people becoming addicted to pain medication after a surgery or accident. One pill every four hours, turned into four pills every hour. With our state-of-the-art detox unit, thousands of patients have been able to detox safely and comfortably under the medical supervision of our nursing staff. From there, they were able to experience our drug treatment program, where they were given the tools needed to overcome addiction and restore their lives. If you are struggling with a prescription opiate addiction, please do not wait another moment, call Clearbrook today.