Dialing back on opioid prescriptions

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Senator Richard Blumenthal leading the charge at the Legislative Office Building with a new measure called the ‘Prop Bill.’ It is aimed at helping hospitals and doctors to cut back on the amount of opioids they are prescribing.

Lisa Johns lost her son Christopher to a heroin overdose. She says his addiction started with prescribed pain medication after nose surgery. “It was a miracle pill for pain, and they gave it out like candy,” she said. That candy was Oxycodone. “It is a good medication if you are in severe pain and you have cancer, things of that nature. But you don’t give it to anybody who’s just getting their wisdom teeth out or who sprained a muscle,” added Johns.

That is exactly what the ‘Prop Bill’ does says Sen. Blumenthal. Hospitals are required to give a satisfaction survey, if patients give negative answers, the hospitals lose money from the federal government. The bill would discount the questions.

“If they don’t get it, and they fill out a patient satisfactory survey and those questions are on them, then the satisfaction surveys are not going to look very good,” said Pat Rehmer of Hartford Health Care.

The hospitals say the three questions on the survey determine whether or not they are reimbursed money from the federal government. The questions are did you need pain management? How was your pain managed? And did the staff do everything they could to manage that pain? Those questions are set up so doctors prescribe opioids to help patients even when it’s not necessary.

“I think this bill is an attempt, not to say that hospitals shouldn’t be managing the pain or doctors, obviously they should, but there are a lot of ways to manage the pain. So can we move away from using the amount of opioids that we are using to do that,” said Rehmer.

It is a bipartisan bill and should be voted on in the next month.

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