Nation’s Emergency Physicians Applaud CDC Opioid Guidelines

ACEP Press Release:

In response to new guidelines for the prescribing of opioids released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians Jay Kaplan, MD, FACEP, released the following statement:

“Emergency physicians see first-hand the tragic consequences of opioid misuse and addiction and applaud the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for taking an important step forward in addressing this public health epidemic.

“Typically, emergency physicians provide only short-term prescriptions for opiates and only after exhausting other types of analgesia, such as over-the-counter painkillers. Therefore the recommendation that emergency physicians restrict prescriptions to no more than 7 days’ worth of opioid medication aligns well with our practices. We support prescription drug monitoring programs as recommended by the CDC, though remain mindful of their potential for unintended consequences, such as denying legitimate pain patients the pain relief they need. Washington state’s Emergency Department Information Exchange is a fine example of how these programs can work well, and we support the expansion of such systems.

“We agree with the American Medical Association that sound scientific evidence must guide any public health policy. This is especially true in the complicated area of pain, for which no objective test exists. Every day in our nation’s emergency departments we treat patients suffering acute pain and must balance their immediate needs against the long-term risk of becoming opiate-dependent. It is critical that physicians educate patients on reasonable expectations for treatment of pain in the emergency department, including allowing emergency departments to post signs informing patients of opioid prescription policies. It is also important that health insurance companies reimburse alternative approaches to pain treatment so that an opioid prescription is not the only way to provide affordable pain relief to patients.

“We reiterate our commitment to work together with the federal government, the public and the house of medicine to find lasting solutions to this scourge of the 21st century.”

ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.

Avoid EMTALA woes: Keep registration in the emergency department ‘clear and simple’

From AHC Media:

To comply with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, patient access leaders at Wall Township, NJ-based Meridian Health keep the emergency department (ED) registration process “clear and simple,” says access services trainer Donna J. Roettger, CHAA.

These steps occur when a patient presents to the ED:

1. Registrars do a quick reg.

“This initial process only takes a few minutes from the time the patient comes in the door until they are triaged,” says Roettger. During this encounter with the patient, registrars ask only for identification. Once the patient is entered into the system, an account number is created.

“That allows us to put the patient into the tracking system that we share with clinical,” says Roettger. “This assists in the communication between access services and the triage nurse.”

Physicians spend 67 minutes a day on EHR email notifications

From Becker’s:

EHR-based emails directly send notifications to providers, but the number of notifications — and the amount of time providers spend reading them — is growing.

Researchers examined notifications received by all physicians at three primary care practices in Texas from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2015 using three different EHR systems. They found primary care physicians received an average of 76.9 notifications per day, and they spend an average of 66.8 minutes per day processing notifications.