Every day hospitals and health systems see the effects of the nation’s growing opioid epidemic. Opioids accounted for nearly 70% of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2016—five times higher than opioid-related overdose deaths in 1999.
Hospitals are on the front lines in part because of the increased morbidity and mortality related to prescription opioid drug use.
The Texas Hospital Association has worked diligently to provide member hospitals with the tools and resources they need to address statewide opioid use and abuse from its many contributing factors. The resources that follow describe these efforts in greater detail.
Texas Hospitals’ Holistic Approach to Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
While the state’s opioid problem requires the engagement of physicians, insurers, drug manufacturers, pharmacies and beyond, Texas hospitals have taken a proactive leadership role to address statewide opioid use and abuse by employing a multi-faceted approach that attacks the issue from all angles.
In addition to implementing THA’s voluntary opioid prescribing guidelines for hospital emergency departments, Texas hospitals are consulting a wide array of sophisticated data that identifies potential drug seeking behavior and other patient factors to limit opioid prescriptions across all care settings. Specifically, Texas hospitals are consulting data from:
- THA and Illumicare’s Smart Ribbon to improve opioid-related outcomes in inpatient settings.
- The state’s Prescription Monitoring Program to improve opioid-related outcomes for patients in inpatient and outpatient care facilities.
In partnership with the Texas Department of State Health Services, THA also is working with 200 Texas hospitals under the TexasAIM initiative to improve maternal care and reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity. As part of the initiative, THA is leading a 10-hospital pilot program to improve obstetric care for women with opioid use disorder. THA and TDSHS will launch the statewide opioid-focused project for inpatient and outpatient facilities by 2020.
THA’s Voluntary Opioid Prescribing Guidelines for Hospital Emergency Departments
Hospital emergency departments have a responsibility to treat every individual who presents for care. Unfortunately, some patients see this as an opportunity to seek medication for non-therapeutic purposes. Despite prescribing a fraction of the opioid prescriptions written nationally, opioid prescriptions from emergency departments account for approximately 45 percent of opioids diverted for non-medical use.
To limit the number of inappropriate opioid prescriptions and help curb opioid use and abuse among individuals who exhibit drug-seeking behavior and to prevent new addictions, THA developed recommended, voluntary prescribing guidelines for hospital emergency departments.