“Stay away,” doctors tell prospective patients who take opioid painkillers
HealthDay – Folks taking opioids for chronic pain may run into trouble if they need to find a new doctor.
A new “secret shopper” survey of 194 Michigan primary care clinics found that as many as four out of 10 primary care doctors would turn away patients who have been taking the pain-killing medications (such as Percocet) long term.
And that’s true even if those physician practices said they are open to taking new patients.
“This is a prevalent problem—more so than we expected,” said study author Dr. Pooja Lagisetty, from the University of Michigan Medical School and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.
For the study, researchers called physician practices, posing as a potential new patient. How A Sprained Ankle Turns Into Opioid Addiction
The “patients” explained that they were taking opioids for chronic pain and said they had either Medicaid or private health insurance.
Lagisetty said she hopes the study gets health care systems thinking about this problem.
“I hope it gets physicians thinking, ‘What can we do better?’ By closing doors on patients, we’re not helping anybody,” she said. “We need to dig into this problem to find out what’s driving it.”
Lagisetty said there are probably multiple reasons that doctors turn certain patients away. Billionaire Exec Got Rich On Opioids, Now Pitches “Cure”
“Stigma is probably a component, and another big component is probably the administrative burden that comes with prescribing opioids. It’s not a trivial amount of work to manage someone on opioids safely. I suspect some clinics may be a little overburdened,” she said.
Dr. Noel Deep, a spokesman for the American College of Physicians, suspects the problem is less about stigma and more about the regulatory burden related to prescribing opioids. LOCK. THEM. UP. (No More Lap Dances, Either)
“Physicians have to think twice when prescribing opioids, and if you’re in a small, rural practice, it gets difficult. Physicians can also be targeted for overprescribing,” he said … Read more.