ADHS Releases Robust Opioid Action Plan

This week the Arizona Department of Health Services released their ”Opioid Overdose Epidemic Response Report” in accordance with the public-health emergency declaration issued by the Governor in June.  The executive order required the agency to release a report with surveillance results and policy recommendations.

The Report is robust and has many practical and specific recommendations and planned policy and operational interventions that, if implemented, would clearly have a significant impact on the epidemic.  The full report is 92 pages long, but you can get a fairly-complete picture by reading the first 38 pages.

Intervention recommendations are included for various categories including: state opioid legislation; federal interventions; youth prevention; law enforcement; medical education curriculum; insurance parity; regulatory boards; correctional facilities; continuity of care; educating the public; and controlled substances prescription monitoring program (CSPMP) improvements.

There are literally dozens of recommendations, but I picked out a few of the more interesting ones below:

  • Impose a 5-day limit on all first fills for opioid naïve patients for all payers;
  • Require pharmacists to check the CSPMP prior to dispensing an opioid;
  • Require different labeling and packaging for opioids (“red caps”);
  • Require 3 hours of opioid-related CME for all professions that prescribe or dispense opioids;
  • Establish an all payers claims database to establish better surveillance data;
  • Eliminate dispensing of controlled substances by prescribers;
  • Regulate pain management clinics to prohibit “pill mill” activities;
  • Establish enforcement mechanisms for pill mills and illegal opioid dispensing;
  • Enact a good Samaritan law to allow bystanders to call 911 for a potential opioid overdose;
  • Allow Medicaid to pay for substance abuse treatment in correctional facilities;
  • Remove the IMD exclusion to allow facilities to receive reimbursement for substance abuse treatment;
  • Remove the pain satisfaction score completely from the CMS HCHAP (patient satisfaction) score; and
  • Require federal health care facilities to maintain state licensure (e.g. VA, IHS). 

For the full picture including some results from the enhanced surveillance you should visit the Full Report which is quite impressive and a testament to the team effort that went into the development of the report.

Sheila Sjolander from ADHS will be kicking off our September 28 Fall Conference & Annual Meeting with the results of the Report.  About 150 folks are already registered, and if registration trends hold, this may be our most well-attended conference in quite some time- and a great networking opportunity to boot.  You can View our Agenda and Register on our AzPHA website.

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