In accordance with one expert, a plan released by the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) to combat opioid abuse could end up harming sufferers who need the drugs for end-of-life-care.
Released in January, CMS' Opioid Misuse Strategy involves four priority areas to tackle the opioid epidemic:
Twillman said, “The challenge is not so much in decreasing opioid prescribing, but in coming up with other effective treatments for sufferers who still experience pain after their opioids are taken away. CMS could assist us significantly by increasing coverage for non-pharmacological treatments under Medicare and Medicaid.”
A daily dosage limit of 90 morphine milligram equivalents per day proposed as part of CMS' strategy should also receive more scrutiny, Twillman said, since the level may not be sufficient for every patient.
“There are few patients with chronic pain, even pain unrelated to cancer or linked with palliative or end-of-life care, who require opioids to acquire the best possible outcomes,” he stated. “I am concerned that the proposal of CMS will result in some patients being not able to get the therapy they require.”
Twillman compelled provider education as a top priority in the fight against opioid abuse, as well as imrpoved reimbursement and access for non-pharmacological treatment processes.
Twillman claimed, “We require having prescribers and pharmacists approach and educating policymakers about the reasons we have gotten to where we’re, and about what they can do to assist us give better patient care”.