OPIOID issues in South Georgia is becoming a daily topic with doctors & medical facilities, new restrictions, new laws and even more to come.

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OPIOID issues in South Georgia is becoming a daily topic with doctors & medical facilities, new restrictions, new laws and even more to come.

My personal experience….

Since 2015 I myself have taken many pain meds, 3 hip surgeries and a bad back keep me in pain. The issue that I personally have with the new restrictions is the fact that you have to take a drug test and the meds have to be in your system. I understand they want to make sure you are not selling your meds on the streets to people who are addicted to them, but couldn’t being forced to take them on days that you are not in pain actually lead to addiction. I went about 5 days (a couple of months ago) no pain, it felt so good, I did not take any pain medication. At my appointment I was given a cup and asked for a urine sample. I was later told my sample was negative for Opoids, I explained to my doctor about the few days prior to the appoinment of not taking them due to not being in pain, that was a short lived experience and my pain was back but the doctor was hesitant to give me meds. I was told they have to be in your system.  Is the current system part of the problem? We don’t take Aleve or something similar for a headache we do not have!! The other issue I found aggravating was only being allowed to pick up a few pills at a time, having to make several trips a month to the pharmacy when you are disabled and in pain.

I am fully aware Opioids is a serious issue, I have no clue what the solution is,……do you?

The above paragraph is my personal experience & opinion, I would love to hear what other people think about this…below are some highlights from the recent Phoebe Board Meeting where several items are discussed including the Opioid issue, as well as a presentation from Dr. Eddie Black that I found very educating and definately worth sharing with our community and surrounding areas. It’s good to know that our doctors are looking for solutions to this new plague that is devasting to so many.


JANUARY 10, 2018

Critical Care Recognition — The Critical Care team was recognized for their service, commitment and compassionate care.  Chairman John Culbreath read a letter of commendation written by the family of a recent patient.  Phoebe has implemented a high intensity model in our Intensive Care Units.  This model provides 24/7 physician coverage by highly-trained intensivists for our critically ill patients to ensure they receive the highest level of care.  Dr. Enrique Lopez, Phoebe Critical Care Intensivist, said, “Every single national metric that any of the top university-based units are measured on, we meet or exceed.”  Outgoing Interim Critical Care Director Rochelle Tinman said, “The progression of that model [over the last year] is absolutely perfect.”


MLK Day of Service — Joe Austin highlighted Phoebe’s plans for the MLK Day of Service.  We will be providing free flu shots and blood pressure checks during lunch at the Albany Rescue Mission and during dinner at the Albany Salvation Army.  Phoebe volunteers will also serve dinner at the Salvation Army and will join the Retired Senior Volunteer Program ramp builders to construct wheelchair ramps at the homes of two citizens with disabilities.  Employees are also making donations to the Albany Civil Rights Institute to help underwrite their monthly community nights, and our Diabetes Resource Center team will provide the program for the January community night.  Phoebe will host an MLK Day ceremony at 3:00 p.m. Monday in the cafeteria solarium.


Opioid Crisis — Dr. Eddie Black presented information on the opioid crisis, new state laws related to the crisis and the prescribing of opioids, and how Phoebe is responding.  All providers with DEA registration can now enroll in a state Prescription Drug Monitoring Database (PDMP) and will be required to register by July, 2018.  It allows prescribers and dispensers to easily check a patient’s background and prescription history before prescribing and providing opioid medication.  Dr. Black said, “[This program] is starting to work, and it will become even more effective when it becomes mandatory.”  The new laws limit the number of opioid pills that can be prescribed at one time.  Dr. Black said, “Our [Phoebe’s] policy was put together before the state law was written, and some of what we’re doing is more stringent than what is required by state law.”


Medicare/Medicaid — Joel Wernick expressed concern over proposed changes to the Medicare 340B program which currently allows Phoebe to get certain prescription medications at the lowest possible cost because of the disproportionately large share of low-income patients we serve.  The proposed change could cost Phoebe at least $4M per year.  Recently, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Hospital Association aimed at stopping the cuts.  Wernick also said interest in expanding Medicaid seems to be growing at the state capitol, but he does not expect action on that issue until a new governor takes office next year.