SCP Addresses Opioid Epidemic
Schumacher Clinical Partners’ (SCP) most senior medical leaders, comprised of 23 physicians and nurses, including the company’s Enterprise Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Randy Pilgrim, and Founder & Executive Chairman, Dr. William C. “Kip” Schumacher, recently congregated to address head-on the rising abuse of opioids in the U.S. and how emergency department providers can help stem what President Trump has declared a “national public health emergency.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid overdoses continue to increase in the U.S., an epidemic not limited to any age, sex, or geographic area. In 2017, the rate of overdose was 30 percent higher than the previous year (most recent data). The CDC further reports that individuals who overdose are likely to have another, and have called upon emergency medicine providers to be aware of the “opportunity for prevention” during emergency department patient encounters.
SCP-managed emergency departments are currently in 30 states across 300 client hospitals where some 6,000 medical providers care for approximately 8 million patients annually. “Partnering with local communities, leaders, and patients to positively impact this national crisis goes hand-in-hand with our professional responsibility as clinicians,” remarked Dr. Randy Pilgrim, SCP Enterprise Chief Medical Officer, at the company’s recent Clinical Leadership Council meeting.
SCP initiatives underway or planned include:
- Distribution and promotion of CMS’ Opioid Roadmap and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) best practices recommendations for opioid prescribing.
- Contribution of SCP practice data for national benchmarking project – sponsored by ACEP’s E-QUAL (Emergency Quality Network) Opioid Initiative.
- Educational toolkits and training resources for providers about appropriate opioid screening, prescribing, harm reduction strategies (e.g., naloxone) and medication-assisted therapies (MAT).
- Promotion of “ALTO” – the Alternatives to Opiates Program founded by St. Joseph’s Healthcare network – offering alternative pain strategies to opioids for patients and other education and addiction treatment resources.
- Expansion of partnership plans with hospital clients for initiatives to help identify barriers to reducing opioid use and misuse (pilot program underway at St. Anthony’s Medical Center, Alton, IL).
- Thought leadership promotion, (e.g., blogging, social media) on the issues and concerns around opioids.
- Support of ACEP-sponsored national legislation before Congress including The Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms (POWER) Act (H.R. 5176),and The Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) in the Emergency Department Act (H.R. 5197).
“As hospital trusted specialists, we practice medicine at a critical juncture in patients’ lives and in the healthcare system; we simply must seize the opportunity to make a difference in this crisis,” Pilgrim added.