Ohio Hospitals Agree to New Painkiller Protocol in Emergency Rooms

Gov. John Kasich announced Monday that hospital emergency rooms across the state have agreed to a new protocol that would restrict the prescription of addictive painkillers to patients who complain of pain (Source: “Ohio ER policy aims to fight drug abuse,” Toledo Blade, May 8, 2012).

“There’s a message to those going into those emergency rooms: We’re not giving the stuff to you willy-nilly anymore,” Mr. Kasich said. “We’re not going to allow you to get a prescription and go out and give it some relative or give it to some kid, or give it to anybody. … Not only were the emergency rooms excited about cooperating with these protocols, but then the urgent care centers came in and said, ‘Can we help, too?'”

According to Dr. Ted Wymyslo, the guidelines are voluntary and do not have the force of law. However, the protocol has been endorsed by the Ohio Hospital Association.

“Handling this challenge with statewide agreement allows hospitals to present a united front, encouraging those in chronic pain to work closely with their primary care physicians while discouraging dangerous, drug-seeking behavior that is part of the addiction epidemic Ohio is working to break,” said Mike Abrams, president and CEO of the Ohio Hospital Association.

Source: Ohio Health Policy Review, May 10, 2012

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