KMS forms opioid panel with KHA, sets guiding principles for doctors

In Community Health, Feature, KMS News by admin

The Kansas Medical Association and Kansas Hospital Association have established a joint KMS-KHA Committee on Opioid Misuse to better understand and address the problem in the state and find ways to reduce and treat it.

The KMS board approved the committee at its December meeting, and gave the panel the mission to:

  • Review data on opioid use and prescribing in Kansas.
  • Identify factors affecting substance use disorder rates.
  • Identify resources or strategies that may help physicians and hospitals address challenges related to opioid misuse.
  • Discuss ways to reduce the harmful impact of opioid misuse.

Dr. LaDona Schmidt of Lawrence, KMS president-elect, and Reta Baker, CEO of Fort Scott’s Mercy Hospital, are co-chairs of the committee, said KMS Executive Director Jon Rosell. He said committee members are being appointed, and expected some from Wichita.

A letter sent late last month to legislators by KMS and KHA noted the formation of the committee and that, since K-TRACS began nearly a decade ago with the collaboration of health care providers, state opioid prescribing rates had steadily dropped along with prescription opioid deaths. The organizations offered to serve as a resource for lawmakers on the opioid issue and legislation related to it.

Last month, the KMS board also approved a set of guiding principles involving use of opioids and a physician’s ability to make decisions in their patients’ best interests. They include:

  • Accurately assessing and effectively and safely treating patients is the goal and responsibility of every physician. Physicians are best able to make clinical judgments about each patient’s needs. Statutory or other prescribing limitations fail to account for a patient’s unique medical condition.
  • Standards of care and clinical guidelines should be established by physicians, enforced by the Board of Healing Arts and informed by scientific study.
  • Prescribers should receive specialty-appropriate, evidence-based continuing education on the management and treatment of pain, prescription drug diversion, misuse and addiction, and strategies clinicians can use to minimize the incidence of drug misuse.
  • Policies aimed at addressing opioid misuse should be developed with state-specific data.
  • K-TRACS should continue to be provider-led to remain an effective resource for clinicians.

See a full version of the principles is at