Is lesser aggressive treatment for pain by hospitals and doctors the better way to go based on serious concerns of painkiller addition? According to news reports, health officials are suggesting a stricter approaching when using painkillers for pain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recently produced guidelines regarding the proscribing of opioids for chronic pain. The CDC’s guidelines focused on the use of opioids as a treatment for pain in patients 18 years and older. The guidelines did not include medical conditions like active cancer treatment and end of life care, for example.
CDC statistics show that in 2014, more people died from drug overdoses than any year previously recorded. Add to this, deaths from drug overdoses have increased for men and women of all ages and races. 3 out of 5 drug overdose deaths involves the use of an opioid. Prescription opioids and heroin related deaths have almost quadrupled since 1999.
A group of 60 senior health officials is suggesting new guidelines be put in place for pain treatment. According to the group, current treatment standards are too aggressive when it comes to treatment for pain. This aggressive treatment can sometimes lead to a patient being addicted to painkillers. The group of health officials represent the states of Vermont, Alaska, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Based on the opinions of the health officials, problems can arise when patients have to complete surveys conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The surveys ask questions dealing with how well the patient’s pain was treated while the patient was in the hospital. A patient’s answers to questions like these according to the health officials determine a hospital’s performance and payment. As an unintended consequence, hospitals and medical professionals aggressively treat for pain because they want good scores and payment.
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