12/11/2011, New state law leaves patients in pain


In March, Passantino’s doctor told him that his Pierce County clinic, part of the Community Health Care network, was no longer treating chronic-pain patients. The doctor wrote one last oxycodone prescription — 25 pills, 5 milligrams each, good for maybe a week — and suggested that Passantino cut the tablets into pieces, to make them last longer. Good luck finding another doctor, the physician said…

At least 84 clinics and hospitals now refuse new pain patients, and some have booted existing patients, The Times found. The growing legion of untreated pain patients has become so troublesome that some clinics, like one in Everett, post signs that ward off walk-ins: “We do not treat pain patients.”

His wife, Jennifer, hunted down a list of 60 physicians and clinics that work with Medicaid patients. With help from a relative she called every provider on the list, pleading for someone to treat her husband. She tallied the answers in a journal. Every answer was no…

For lawmakers, there was also a financial incentive. The Department of Labor & Industries, which oversees medical compensation for injured workers, predicted the new law would result in fewer prescriptions for opioid medications, saving the state an estimated $13 million a year, according to legislative fiscal notes…

The requirement to consult a specialist whenever daily doses climb above 120 milligrams has caused the most anxiety among medical providers…

The state has thousands of practitioners with prescribing privileges. But as of last month, the state’s sanctioned list of pain specialists numbered just 13…

At least 2,173 people died in Washington by accidentally overdosing on methadone between 2003 and 2010, a Seattle Times analysis of death certificates shows. Among long-acting painkillers — a group that includes OxyContin, fentanyl and morphine — methadone accounts for less than 10 percent of the drugs prescribed but more than half the deaths, The Times found…


Group Health’s Initiative To Avert Opioid Misuse And Overdose Among Patients With Chronic Noncancer Pain (August 2011)

Regardless of the value of long-term opioid therapy in the management of chronic non-cancer pain...


2/10/2012, Seattle Health System Finds Early Success with Program to Prevent Opioid Misuse

Dr. Trescott reported in Health Affairs that between September 2010, when the initiative was launched, and May 2011, almost 6,000 patients on long-term opioid therapy at all dosage levels met with their clinicians to develop care plans that were documented in their electronic health record. As of January, almost all of the system’s 7,000 patients in this category have care plans.

As a result of the new system, which made doctors’ prescribing practices very clear, some physicians are no longer allowed to prescribe opioids at Group Health, according to Dr. Trescott. “We know we’re prescribing lower doses of opioids overall, and we’re doing a lot more urine drug screening than we used to,” she says…

Under comments:

February 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm, Sidney Schnoll said:  It is very important to set up appropriate guidelines in the prescribing of controlled substances. I’m always amazed, however, that when the results of these programs are reported there is never any mention of the effect on the treatment of the patient’s pain. We need to make sure there is the correct balance so that patients don’t suffer as we pat ourselves on the back.


1/23/2015, Evaluation of Health Plan Interventions to Influence Chronic Opioid Therapy Prescribing.

Physicians reported more conservative beliefs regarding opioid prescribing immediately after completing an online course in 2011, but the course was not associated with additional reductions in mean daily opioid dose prescribed by physicians completing the course.


9/1/2011, Rules Hurt Patients with Pain in Washington State

I’ve been searching for more updated news about pain patients in Washington state, but I can’t find any.

2 thoughts on “12/11/2011, New state law leaves patients in pain

    • It’s hard to have an opinion without knowing how pain patients are faring.

      In most states, rules about PDMPs are only recommended, not mandatory — but I assume that will change quickly considering the federal funds coming to the states for these programs. Unfortunately, I don’t see that the results of all these laws are making that big of a dent in the problems they are supposed to be addressing — drug abuse and overdoses.

      This is just another version of the drug war, only it’s not black people using crack or Chinese people using opium — now the war is against the treatment of pain itself.

      It seems to me that the only people these laws are helping are DEA agents (makes their jobs easier), and the grieving parents who started this “epidemic” (makes them feel like they’re making a difference).

      Liked by 1 person

If you don't comment, I'll just assume you agree with me

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s