Commonly, a person’s initial exposure to prescription opioids follows an incidence of acute or chronic pain. When used as prescribed under a medical provider’s supervision, opioids can be an effective method of treating pain. However, opioids also have addictive properties that can make them dangerous when used inappropriately, a contributing factor to the opioid crisis that exists today. Consequently, opioid prescribing restrictions and guidelines have become more stringent. Although these guidelines have decreased incidences of opioid exposure, there have been unintended consequences for persons with painful conditions.
There are systemic barriers to accessing other high-quality, timely, cost-effective methods of pain management. Pain diagnosis and management training has been lacking within healthcare, and health plan benefit design often incentivizes the utilization of opioids over equally effective and less risky alternatives. Unaddressed pain has significant physical, emotional, and societal costs. As healthcare purchasers, employers play an imperative role in optimizing the quality of healthcare and health services that their employees and their dependents are receiving to manage their pain.
Join the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative (KHC) for this half day event to learn about pain – where we’ve come from, where we are, and how employers can drive where we need to go.