Kansas Considers Regulating Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes

From US News (AP):

A bill that would require nursing facilities to get written permission from residents or their guardians before administering antipsychotic drugs faced stiff opposition from groups representing doctors, hospitals and skilled nursing homes during debate in the Kansas Legislature.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned that antipsychotics increase the risk of falls, stroke and other potentially fatal side effects for people suffering from dementia. Since the federal government started tracking off-label use of such medications in nursing homes in 2011, Kansas has been at or near the top in percentage of medicated residents, The Kansas City Star reported .

Rachel Monger, a lobbyist for LeadingAge Kansas, told legislators recently that the law “would be by far the broadest and most restrictive law on antipsychotics in the country” and would penalize nursing homes for funding and staffing shortages they can’t control.

Ten ERs In Colorado Tried To Curtail Opioids And Did Better Than Expected

From Kaiser Health News (hat tip: Dr. Menadue):

Ten Colorado hospitals, including Swedish in Englewood, Colo., participated in a six-month pilot project designed to cut opioid use, the Colorado Opioid Safety Collaborative. Launched by the Colorado Hospital Association, it is billed as the first of its kind in the nation to include this number of hospitals in the effort.

The goal was for the group of hospitals to reduce opioids by 15 percent. Instead, Dr. Don Stader, an ER physician at Swedish who helped develop and lead the study, said the hospitals did much better: down 36 percent on average.

“It’s really a revolution in how we approach patients and approach pain, and I think it’s a revolution in pain management that’s going to help us end the opioid epidemic,” Stader says.

The decrease amounted to 35,000 fewer opioid doses than during the same period in 2016.

Rebuild Rural: The Importance of Health Care in Infrastructure

From Rural Health Voices:

Health Care is Rural Infrastructure 
NRHA has developed a four-pronged approach to make rural Americans healthy and bring back jobs: include provisions to keep rural hospitals open such as those in H.R. 2957, the Save Rural Hospitals Act, maintain jobs, and ensure access to care; cut red tape by reforming existing programs to bring grants and funding to the communities that need them most; improve telehealth and transportation services to increase availability and delivery of care; and address rural health care system workforce shortages. We only need small investments in rural infrastructure to yield big rural health gains.