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Opioid prescriptions down at Salt Lake VA hospital since 2012

Deserert News

The share of sufferers prescribed opioids at the Veterans Medical Center in Salt Lake City has dropped considerably since 2012, consistent with information launched this week through the government.

SALT LAKE CITY — The share of sufferers prescribed opioids at the Veterans Medical Center in Salt Lake City has dropped considerably since 2012, consistent with information launched this week through the government.

Of all sufferers who obtain a prescription from the George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center in 2017, 13 p.c had been prescribed opioids, in comparison to 22 p.c in 2012, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reported Thursday.

The federal company stated in a unencumber that, with the discharge of that information for its hospitals across the nation, it turned into “the only health-care system in the country to post information on its opioid-prescribing rates.”

“One thing the VA is trying to do is make services accessible, but also be very transparent,” stated Jamie Clinton-Lont, who’s the director of the main care ache training and opioid tracking program at the Salt Lake hospital, in addition to the ladies veterans program supervisor there. “Making it public is important so the public and veterans know that the VA is in good faith doing what they say they’re doing.”

Numerous efforts had been underway in recent times to raised teach sufferers concerning the dangers of opioids, introduce different ways to regard ache, and observe those that is also making an attempt to get painkiller prescriptions from a couple of docs, stated Clinton-Lont.

“The VA was (at one point) one of the highest prescribers of opioids medications nationally,” she stated. “It was thought that opioid medications would be acceptable to treat pain. And data and research have come out suggesting that in fact it only takes care of about 30 percent of a person’s chronic pain.”

“In (coming to believe) we need to have more of a holistic approach with or without opioids, we have seen providers prescribe less.”

For example, Clinton-Lont stated, extra is being finished at the hospital to discover chiropractic ache control choices, in addition to different practices similar to acupuncture, tai chi, yoga and mindfulness workout routines.

Veteran Affairs stated greater than 99 p.c of its amenities have proven a lower since 2012 within the share of sufferers prescribed opioids amongst all sufferers with prescriptions.

While that quantity dropped through greater than a 3rd of its 2012 overall at Salt Lake’s Veteran Affairs hospital, the ability ranked in the back of 55 others amongst 146 overall. However, the federal company issued a warning about hanging an excessive amount of inventory in direct comparisons between amenities, pronouncing “the needs and conditions of veterans may be different at each facility.”

“You have varying patient populations at higher lower risk of suicide from one facility to the next, or higher or lower risk … of PTSD or military sexual trauma,” Clinton-Lont stated.


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The newly launched information is certain, however does not constitute a catch-all because it relates to decreasing the selection of opioids prescribed, Clinton-Lont added. For instance, she stated, amongst sufferers who do obtain opioid prescriptions, there are particular efforts at the Salt Lake facility to assist cut back the routine of those that are taking 200 milligram equivalents of painkillers in keeping with day.

“The goal is to reduce the risk of accidental overdose,” Clinton-Lont stated.

The Veterans Affairs unencumber additionally cautioned that, in spite of declining numbers of sufferers being given opioids, for plenty of veterans who be afflicted by continual ache, receiving an opioid prescription might proceed to “be necessary medically.”

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