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New course seeks to lower risks of pain management

The Colorado School of Public Health has created an online program called "The Opioid Crisis: Guidelines and Tools for Improving Chronic Pain Management." Intended to combat the problem of medication errors related to overdoses and unintentional deaths from prescribed opioids, the program is being endorsed by the Colorado Medical Society, or COPIC, a provider of medical malpractice insurance in Colorado.

Statistics from the Robert Johnson Foundation indicate that over 80 people die each day from unintended opioid medication overdoses. The program's online training course not only offers tools that target the epidemic of opioid abuse, but it also provides guidelines for assessing possible addiction risks in patients who have pain that is chronic but not cancer-related and provides access to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, or PDMP. There is also a calculator that estimates the dose of opioids taken by a patient.

COPIC announced that it is awarding points that count toward discounts on insurance for clinicians who finish the online course. Pinnacol Assurance, a big provider of workers' compensation insurance in the state, is making the course mandatory for all its clinicians in the SelectNet group who provide injured worker's care.

Opiods can be addictive, and prescription-related overdoses of opiods can cause major disability or even death. A medical malpractice attorney may be able to review an individual's case and determine if an accidental overdose was the result of negligence on the part of the doctor or hospital. It may be possible to resolve such cases with a monetary settlement that may offset the patient's and the family's distress.

Source: Health Canal, "New program to curb opioid prescription drug overdoses." David Kelly, Feb. 13, 2013

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