Safe Opioid Prescribing Guidelines Released

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Safe Med LA, a public/private prescription drug abuse coalition in Los Angeles County, announced the launch of an initiative to implement safe prescribing guidelines at 80 urgent care clinics operated by 10 major physician groups and health systems throughout the county, including Kaiser Permanente and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

“Opioid abuse is a public health epidemic,” said Michael Kanter, MD, director of quality and clinical analysis for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group. “It’s not just about cutting dosages of drugs. It’s about having a program that will benefit the patient and provide relief of pain without putting the patient at risk for complications of opioid abuse. It requires many professionals in different specialties providing input.”

According to a press release, Safe Med LA is taking a coordinated and multifaceted approach to address the opioid epidemic by focusing on a variety of factors, including safe prescribing, ensuring access to medication-assisted addiction treatment and overdose prevention medication, safe drug disposal, and community education.

The first safe prescribing initiative, launched in March 2015, led to the adoption of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine guidelines in all 76 emergency departments throughout the county.

Safe Med LA has nine Action Teams focusing on different high-impact aspects of the opioid epidemic. The Medical Practice Action Team is leading the emergency department, urgent care and medical/dental practice initiatives.

The key members of the Medical Practice Action Team are: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services; Blue Shield; Kaiser Permanente and the Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Los Angeles County Medical Association; the Los Angeles Chapter of the American College of Physicians; the Los Angeles Chapter of the California Academy of Family Physicians; the Los Angeles Dental Society; the California American College of Emergency Physicians; University of California, Los Angeles; LA Care and others.

The 10 key participants (major provider groups and delivery systems) in the Urgent Care Initiative that operate the 80 urgent care clinics in Los Angeles County are: AltaMed, Care 1st, Exer, Facey, Health Care Partners, Kaiser Permanente, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Providence, UCLA and US Healthworks.

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