Risk factors which exclude large number of pain patients from getting treatment


Dr. Stephen Hull, director of Mercy Hospital’s Pain Center, said insurance company policies to reduce over-prescribing will be helpful, but more needs to be done to lower America’s reliance on opioids to control pain. There are no long-term studies that prove the effectiveness of opioids in controlling chronic pain, scientists say…

Anthem also will warn doctors when they see a patient seeking painkillers from an emergency department and will investigate doctors who are prescribing high doses of opioids, she said. Harrell said another program set to start this fall will notify doctors if a patient has previously been in a substance abuse treatment program or overdosed and gone to an emergency department, all warning signs that a patient may try to doctor shop…

Mark Slitt, a Cigna spokesman, said the insurance company launched a program a decade ago to identify over-prescribing, and has been adding to it ever since.

“The opioid crisis is a national tragedy. Cigna’s goal is to work collaboratively with doctors, as well as organizations like (the American Society for Addiction Medicine) to help find ways to fix the problem. Contacting doctors proactively regarding their patients’ risk factors is just one part of this effort,” Slitt said…



First of all, if opiates are to be used for chronic noncancer pain, physicians need to assess the patient for risk factors, which include a history of smoking, family or personal history of substance abuse, history of sexual abuse, and a history of psychological disease…


Risk Factors for aberrant behavior

• Lifetime history of substance use disorder (alcohol, tobacco, illicit substances)
• Psychiatric co-morbidity
• History of pre-adolescent sexual abuse
• Family history of substance abuse
• History of legal problems
• Younger age (16 – 45)
• Increased functional impairment

2 thoughts on “Risk factors which exclude large number of pain patients from getting treatment

  1. Doctors really need to know their patients as a person and not as a “risk factor”.
    I fall under a lot of those risk factors but I’m not one who would over use pain killers.
    Because of my family history of abuse I am very wary of addiction. I’m sure much more so than people who don’t have that in their history.
    The fact that I’ve was sexually abused when I was young doesn’t mean I’ll abuse drugs, I’ve been in therapy for this and I’ve dealt with it.
    I am also bipolar, but I’ve been stable for nearly 20 years. I don’t think that makes me a higher risk.

    I’m just offended that there is a list that people follow without knowing the patient.
    I feel like it will just make people lie more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I also have many of these risk factors. At this point, I’m not prepared to lie to obtain access to pain medication. But I can see a point in the future where I might have to lie, especially about a family history of addiction. As for our own medical histories, there’s no escaping them in the digital age. Once a label like chronic pain or addiction makes it onto our electronic health records, it’s there for life. If some doctor labels you as a drug-seeker, you might as well get a tattoo.

      Liked by 1 person

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