I came to work Friday to learn that a family friend of two PRIUM employees had passed away from a heroin overdose after a year-long struggle with prescription pain pills. This morning, I found a note in my inbox from one of our physician reviewers about an incredibly sad (and similar) story about a 25-year old New York man who overdosed on heroin after a battle with prescription drugs.
Sitting on my desk is the latest copy of Business Insurance with a front page article about the risks facing physicians who attempt to wean or discontinue prescription drugs. Some doctors feel threatened by some addicts who appear to be willing to inflict physical harm or engage in violence in order to get what they want. The story was light on actual statistics, but the phenomenon is real. We hear about it all the time among the prescribers we engage.
I read last week about Joe Paduda's survey on opioids in work comp. "Here's the key takeaway," he wrote, "most respondents understand the problem and know (generally) what needs to be done, but their organizations aren't doing many of the things they should be." I couldn't possibly agree more with that statement.
Time to roll up our sleeves and work harder. We have to do more to educate, to engage, to change this destructive pattern of "treatment."
The note from PRIUM's physician reviewer summed it up: "Please, please, please keep pushing your message. I keep trying to tell my [peer to peer] providers that this is not about the money!"
There's no doubt in my mind our efforts help save payers money. There's no avoiding that, frankly. But we're helping to improve people's lives and, in some cases, save people's lives.
Happy Monday. Let's get to work.
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