Chronic and severe pain requires extreme treatment methods and for about 1 in 3 Americans who have this type of pain, that means pain medication. Many people with this type of chronic pain use this medication to help them get through the day but what happens when this medication isn’t available or is taken away completely?
Do No Harm
Doctors take a Hippocratic Oath that says they will do no harm to their patients, so can they withhold a prescription from a patient? Is this legal? Whether patients are ready or not, many physicians are cracking down on the amount of pain medication that is being prescribed for chronic pain across the U.S. Not only physicians but pharmacists are trying to limit the number of opioids that are being distributed to the American population.
Although millions of Americans are affected by this policy, lawmakers and physicians are seeing the bigger picture and understand that this dependency on this medication is becoming problematic for the country as a whole as this has become an epidemic. As physicians, if a patient needs medication to treat an illness they should have open access to it, however, if this medication is causing many people to become more ill or in this case killing thousands of people, should it be accessible? No matter how you feel in regards to this opioid crisis, your physician could be changing your prescription due to a multitude of reasons stemming from a variety of social, economic and political factors.
CDC Guidelines For Prescribing Pain Medication
The role of the CDC is to detect and to respond to any new emerging health threat and with the rise in opioid abuse, they are doing just that. The CDC or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is a federal agency that was created to enforce rules and regulations to ensure greater public health for all. With the rise in the abuse of opioids, the public’s health was is in jeopardy as physicians were over prescribing these medications. As a result, the CDC stepped in and placed strict guidelines on physicians for how they can prescribe pain medication. They encourage physicians to prescribe lower dosages and even treat every patient as “high risk” when it comes to the potential for opioid abuse and to ensure that each patient who has been prescribed a pain medication be monitored carefully.
If a physician does prescribe pain medication, they are required by the CDC to track and monitor what and how much they are prescribing. In each case, they are encouraged to prescribe less and fewer opioids and look for alternative medications. This change in procedure may affect what you are prescribed or even how much even if you have never been prescribed any pain medication before. If a doctor is found to be overprescribing pain medication, they have the potential to lose their jobs or even face charges. This crisis is not being taken lightly and physicians are being held to a higher standard of care like never before.
Insurance Companies Looking for Less
A 2018 article in the NY Times, “Medicare Is Cracking Down on Opioids. Doctors Fear Pain Patients Will Suffer”, looks into Medicare’s role while shedding light on how physicians are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Recommended doses of prescription medication are being limited and Medicare has set in motion plans to no longer cover “long-term, high dose prescriptions”. Medicare is looking to execute a plan that would deny a patient coverage if their prescription of an opioid exceeded 7 days and more than 90 mg daily and other insurance companies are taking notice and looking to examine this policy as well and bring this plan to their company.
What to do Now?
For those who suffer from chronic pain, hearing your pain medication is limited or potentially no longer available to you can be overwhelming. Living with chronic pain from Fibromyalgia, lower back pain and other chronic conditions can be debilitating and now having your crutch taken away can be discouraging. What if we told you we could help? Our Jonesboro chiropractor team is filled with skilled doctors who are highly trained in dealing with treating the musculoskeletal system and providing you with the potential to heal! Our all-natural approach can help you regain your strength and alleviate that chronic pain and the best part, no side effects! Contact us today to learn how we can help! Call (404) 602-0387 today!