Claims Rise Against Physicians Prescribing Opioids

Claims against physicians for prescribing opioids are starting to arise. These claims are not against the “pill mill” physician but everyday practitioners whose patients experienced inadvertent overdoses or other events related to their pain medication. These range from allegations of addiction to death.

As you consider guidelines for prescribing opioids or using non-opioid therapy, remember to document your reasoning. This includes documenting your review and assessment of the continuation/success of the therapy at each visit and using a treatment agreement that is updated and signed annually.

The CDC offers tools to help you adopt evidence-based best practices for prescribing and managing opioids. These guidelines also recommend:

  • Recognizing that opioids are not first-line therapy—non-pharmacological/non-opioid therapies are preferred for chronic pain
  • Establishing goals and continuing therapy only if there is meaningful improvement in pain and function and these outweigh the risks
  • Discussing the risks and benefits of opioid therapy
  • Using immediate release opioids when first starting
  • Using the lowest effective dose
  • Prescribing for short durations
  • Evaluating the benefits, harms and risks frequently
  • Reviewing the PDMP data
  • Establishing protocols in your office so all providers are abiding by the same guidelines

Professional Solutions offers a CME webinar on this topic that is free to policyholders. Learn more.

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