Expert Opinion: Beware the Stampede on Reducing Opioids

Article ID: 672142

Released: 30-Mar-2017 11:05 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Newswise — University of Alabama at Birmingham's Stefan G Kertesz, M.D., is a physician in internal medicine and addiction medicine on faculty.

Kertesz's opinions were recently published on TheHill.com

"Last month, two national agencies entered the fray, with the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposing escalate the pressure. One (CMS), will restrict insurance coverage based on dose. The other (NCQA), proposed a quality measure to flag physicians as engaged in bad practice if they let doses remain high, regardless of how well or poorly the patient is doing."

"It will surprise many to learn that such plans were not endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2016, whose review found no data to support the unilateral dose reductions that CMS and NCQA will incentivize."

"In its seventh recommendation, the CDC urged that care of patients already receiving opioids be based not on the number of milligrams, but on the balance of risks and benefits for that patient. That two major agencies have chosen to defy the CDC ignores lessons we should have learned from prior episodes in American medicine, where the appeal of management by easy numbers overwhelmed patient-centered considerations."

Views expressed by Kertesz are his own and do not represent formal positions held by any of his employers.

Video is available of Kertesz.

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