Joint Commission says critics have ‘misconceptions’ about pain standards

From Fierce Practice Management:

The Joint Commission, which came under fire this week from critics who said its pain management standards have fostered dangerous prescribing practices by physicians that contributed to the country’s opioid crisis, defended those standards in a public statement saying those detractors have many “misconceptions” about what they actually require of healthcare organizations.

“In the environment of today’s prescription opioid epidemic, everyone is looking for someone to blame. Often, The Joint Commission’s pain standards take that blame,” said David W. Baker, M.D., the accreditor’s executive vice president for healthcare quality evaluation.

Critics need to look at the pain management standards and what they require healthcare organizations to do when it comes to pain, said Baker. The standards do not push doctors to prescribe opioids and have not caused a rise in opioid prescriptions, he said. Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows the number of opioid prescriptions in the U.S. had been steadily increasing for 10 years prior to the release of pain standards in 2001, he said.

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