EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSHospital Taking Steps To Crack Down On Prescription Abuse
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Dan Matics
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Jul. 20, 2013 9:30 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 20, 2013 9:35 PM EDT
Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia
Prescription pill abuse continues to be a huge problem in West Virginia, but one major local hospital is taking huge steps to curb that problem.
Changes are coming to the emergency room at St. Mary's Medical Center in Huntington.
Marketing Director Doug Korstanje said the changes won't affect patient care, just the treatment of pain.
“They're still going to get the treatment they need," he said.
Doctors are cutting back in the amount of prescription pain killers they prescribe.
If a person comes in to the emergency room for severe back pain, instead of prescribing a week’s worth of pain medicine, the doctor will prescribe just enough until the patient can see a pain specialist.
"We're going to get them a specialist that can get them on the road to recovery," Korstanje said.
The measure went into effect July 1 and the goal is cut down on “doctor shopping.”
Kim Miller works for Prestera Center, which offers rehab programs for addicts.
Miller said this is a huge step for West Virginia.
“The more we can control the release of meds, the better,” she said. “It keeps them off the streets."
St. Mary's is one of the first hospitals in the state to tighten the belt, and they are doing so after being forced to adopt the policy by law at their Ironton emergency room.
St. Mary's Huntington emergency room can see up to 1500 patients in a week. Miller said the policy will make a significant dent.
"One action doesn't solve it, but it’s great news.” She said. “It’s a step in the right direction."
The policy has been in place for about three weeks in Huntington, and the hospital said, "So far, so good."
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