ARE WE IN AGREEMENT?

…One Pain Specialist’s Take on the Controlled Substances Prescriber-Patient Agreement 

 me and c arm

With all of the information and misinformation about pain medicines, addiction, and prescription drug abuse, I thought it might be useful to publish a sample of what a “full-bodied” patient-prescriber agreement looks like. More and more states are requiring these for ongoing treatment with powerful medications that have a substantial potential for abuse (i.e. “controlled substances”). Although this version may not be best for everyone (some may be longer, some shorter), my pain management office uses a document similar to this.

So if you have a little time on your hands and want to know what goes into these agreements, here’s my take on what a thorough prescriber-patient agreement looks like.

 cs agree pic

 

INTRODUCTION:

I understand controlled substances medications (i.e. opioid pain medications, tranquilizers, etc.) have a potential for harm and are therefore closely controlled by the local, state and federal governments. I understand that any medical treatment is initially a trial, with the goal of treatment being to improve my quality of life and my ability to function and/or work. My progress will be assessed periodically to determine the benefits of continued treatment. Continued use is dependent on whether my prescribing provider and I believe that the medication usage benefits me. These drugs can be useful, but have high potential for misuse and are therefore closely regulated. This agreement will help my healthcare provider and me and comply with controlled substance regulations. I agree to use opioids (morphine-like drugs) as part of my treatment plan. The success of my treatment depends on trust, honesty and understanding of how opioids are used. I understand that violation of any part of this agreement may result in this medication being discontinued, as well as termination of my relationship with my provider. I agree to the following conditions:

safe

SECURITY OF THE MEDICATIONS:

I am responsible for keeping my pain medications in a safe and secure place, such as a locked cabinet or safe. I am expected to protect my medications. If my medication is stolen, I will report this to my local police department and obtain a stolen item report. I will also report the stolen medication to my physician. I agree that if my medications are lost, misplaced, stolen, or if I use them up sooner than prescribed, my physician may choose not to replace my medications.  I understand that this opioid medication is strictly for me. I will never give away my medications or sell them to others, because it may endanger that person’s health and is against the law.

FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS:

Unless directed to by my prescriber, I will not alter my medication in any way, and I will take my medication whole. My medication will not be broken, chewed, crushed, injected, or snorted. I am responsible for my opioid medications. I will not allow my medications to be damaged.  I will take my medication exactly as instructed and prescribed. I know that any change in dosage or directions must be approved by my licensed provider. I am responsible for taking the medication in the doses prescribed and for keeping track of the amount remaining. I will not take more than is prescribed.

TIME-LIMITED USE FOR ACUTE CONDITIONS:

I understand that a controlled substance used to treat an acute medical complaint is for time-limited use. I will discontinue the use of the controlled substance when the condition requiring the controlled substance use has resolved.

WHEN OTHER CONDITIONS OR SYMPTOMS ARISE:

I will notify my healthcare provider of side effects that continue or are severe or impair me in any way. I will notify Pain Center by the next business day if I need to visit another physician or need to visit an emergency room due to pain or if I become pregnant.

I agree to not request or accept a controlled substance medication from any other prescriber or individual while I am a patient at Pain Center. However, if another licensed provider, after being made aware of my Pain Center Agreement, still feels it is in my best interest to administer or prescribe a controlled substance for me, I will notify Pain Center by phone by the next business day. I will inform all of my healthcare providers of all medications I am taking, including herbal remedies. I understand that medications, including over-the-counter non-prescription medications can interact with opioid medications and be dangerous.

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NO ILLICIT SUBSTANCES:

I will not use any illicit substances such as cocaine, marijuana, etc. I understand that the use of alcohol together with opioid medications is dangerous and can lead to death. I will promptly inform my Pain Center prescriber if I use or intend to use any of these substances, including alcohol.

KEEPING APPOINTMENTS:

It is my responsibility to schedule appointments for the next refill. I will communicate fully and honestly with my prescriber about my pain level and my activities. I understand that in order to more thoroughly evaluate my plan of care as it pertains to the use of controlled substances, I may have additional visit scheduled at my provider’s discretion. I will keep all my Pain Center appointments.  If I must reschedule, I will notify Pain Center prior to my scheduled time.  If an appointment for a prescription refill is missed, I will request another appointment as soon as possible. I know that immediate or emergency appointments to address medication issues may not be available. However, I understand that I am allowed to seek the services of another healthcare provider in the event of an emergency or acute situation.

REFILLS:

Refills will not be made as an “emergency.” They will be made at planned clinic visits, during regular business hours. I will not expect any medications will be prescribed during the evening or on weekends. I do not expect prescriptions to be written in advance due to vacations, meetings or other commitments. I do not expect my prescriptions to be mailed. I expect that a government issued picture ID will be required to pick up prescriptions.

friendly-pharmacist1

ONE DESIGNATED PHARMACY:

I will designate and use only one pharmacy for all of my controlled substance medications and give the Pain Center full permission to communicate with the pharmacist about my medical care and medications.  Unless I have been given authorization by Pain Center, controlled substance prescriptions can only be filled by a pharmacy in the same state as the Pain Center, even if I am a resident of another state. I will allow my prescriber and his or her associates to send a copy of this agreement to my other healthcare providers and/or to the pharmacy where I obtain my prescriptions.

Urine Sample

DRUG TESTING: 

My prescriber may perform drug testing on me. I agree that I may be called at any time to come in to the clinic for a count of all my remaining medications and/or a drug screen and I agree to come that day. I agree to be responsible for any costs this may incur. If requested to provide a urine sample or other type of sample if necessary. If I decide not to provide a urine sample, I understand that my prescriber may change my treatment plan. This might include discontinuation of my opioid medications or complete termination of our patient-prescriber relationship. The presence of a non-prescribed drug or illicit drug in my urine may be cause for termination of our relationship.

SHARING INFORMATION:

I agree to allow my healthcare provider to contact any healthcare professional, family member, pharmacy, legal authority, or regulatory agency to obtain or provide information about my care or actions if the he or she feels it is necessary. I will allow my prescriber and his or her associates to receive information from any health care provider or pharmacist about use or possible misuse of alcohol and other drugs. I will allow my prescriber and and his or her associates to contact my family and friends to monitor my conditions.  Furthermore, I consent to a criminal background check.

PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER RELATIONSHIP:

I have and will maintain at all times a relationship with a primary care provider and keep him or her informed of all medications I am taking. I agree to and understand the requirement that I have an annual preventive health screening and physical exam by my primary care provider. If recommended, I will see a specialist and/or complete a screening exam to help determine whether I am developing an addiction or psychological illness.  I agree to be responsible for any costs this may incur.

FUNCTIONAL GOALS:

I understand that the main treatment goal is to improve my ability to function. I understand that in general, it is unrealistic for patients to expect complete resolution of their chronic pain with any specific treatment or combination of therapies. I understand that it is important to have a conversation with my provider about my treatment plan and set realistic goals for improvement. I pledge to work together with my provider towards improving my pain control and achieving specific functional goals. I understand that functional goals might include increasing physical activity level, resuming a job/hobby or improving the quality of sleep.

exit-sign

AN “EXIT STRATEGY”:

I understand the concept of an “exit strategy” regarding these medications. I agree that if any of the following goals are not attained this may be evidence of a failure of opioid therapy and discontinuation of some or all of my medications could be the most appropriate plan: (1) meaningful pain control; or (2) acceptable level of function; or (3) tolerable side-effects; or (4) stable and acceptable mental health and behavior: or (5) compliance the plan of care, laws, and regulations.

PATIENT EDUCATION:

I acknowledge that I have been educated on the following matters through verbal or written counseling: (1) proper use; (2) impact on driving and work safety; (3) effect of use during pregnancy; (4) potential for overdose and appropriate response to overdose; (5) safe storage of controlled substances; and (6) proper disposal.

OFF-LABEL USE OF MEDICATION:

All prescription drugs in the US have a label approved by the FDA.  This label provides an indication and dosage for the drug, but neither physician nor patient is legally bound to follow them.  Studies cannot reliably evaluate all the combination treatments in complicated, difficult-to-treat conditions. I understand that my treatment may include “off label” use of medications. 

DISCONTINUATION OF CARE:

I understand that my violation of any of the above conditions may result in re-evaluation of my treatment plan and discontinuation of my medication. I could be gradually taken off these medications or even discharged from the clinic. If my violation involves obtaining controlled substances from another individual, as described above, I may also be reported to my physician, medical facilities and other authorities, including the police.

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I HEREBY AGREE:

I have read this agreement or it has been explained to me by the Pain Center practitioners and/or staff. If I am not currently receiving controlled substances from Pain Center, this agreement does not apply.  However, I understand that this agreement immediately becomes effective if in the future I do receive controlled substances.  I fully understand the consequences of violating this agreement.  I have been explained the risks and potential benefits of these therapies, including, but not limited to, psychological addiction, physical dependence, withdrawal and over dosage. All of my questions regarding the treatment of pain with opioids have been answered to my satisfaction. I hereby agree to participate in the opioid medication therapy and acknowledge that I have received this document.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice.  This is not medical advice.  This is my personal opinion and has not been endorsed by any individual or entity.  All persons should consult his or her own legal counsel and/or health care providers for advice and guidance.

job-reference-check

First Do No Harm: The Indiana Healthcare Providers Guide to the Safe, Effective Management of Chronic Non-Terminal Pain, Version1.0  http://www.in.gov/bitterpill/docs/First_Do_No_Harm_V_1_0.pdf

Sample Controlled Substance Agreement Developed by The Greater Louisville Medical Society http://kbml.ky.gov/substance-abuse/Pages/default.aspx

Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, House Bill 1 Ordinary Regulations Effective March 4, 2013 http://kbml.ky.gov/hb1/Pages/House-Bill-1-Ordinary-Regulations.aspx

Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, Emergency Rule (Pain Medications) http://www.in.gov/pla/files/Emergency_Rules_Adopted_10.24.2013.pdf

Indiana Pain FINAL RULE (Effective November 1, 2014):
http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/20141105-IR-844140289FRA.xml.html

 

me close up

James Patrick Murphy, MD, MMM attended medical school at the University of Louisville, interned in Psychiatry at the San Diego Naval Hospital, studied at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, and later served as a Naval Flight Surgeon onboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise.  He returned to Louisville for residency training in Anesthesiology after which he completed a Pain Medicine Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Dr. Murphy is board-certified in Anesthesiology, Pain Medicine, and Addiction Medicine. He is President of the Greater Louisville Medical Society, Medical Director of Murphy Pain Center, Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and serves on the board of the International Association for Pain and Chemical Dependency. In May 2013 Dr. Murphy earned a Master of Medical Management degree from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.

Dr. Murphy’s blog is The Painful Truth. He can be found on TWITTER by searching @jamespmurphymd. His President’s eVoice and other communications & videos can be accessed at the Greater Louisville Medical Society website.

This Cathedral Won’t Build Itself

washmonwinter

It’s Sunday morning February 16, 2014 at the American Medical Association Candidate Workshop. I’m sitting in this Washington, D.C. conference room, listening to one-hundred ways I can get more politically involved, but hearing one-thousand reasons why it would be crazy for me…

And this popped into my mind.

 

Stones_

Breaking rocks?

In the closing days of my Master of Medical Management program at USC, Professor Dave Logan introduced to our class the concept of a default future, the future that will happen if nothing is done to change it. He then asked the class – 22 seasoned physicians – to describe what health care would look like in 10 years:

“Everything will be automated and impersonal.”

“You’ll have to wait two years to get a hip replacement.”

“It will be a two, no three tier system.”

“The doctor-patient relationship will be history.”

“Managers will run everything.”

“Doctors will be worker bees.”

“Patient care will suffer.”

“I will finally get to go home at 4:30, because everything will shut down.”

What struck me is that no one mentioned that doctors would be paid less money. This was the Marshall School of BUSINESS, yet none of these professionals put lower income at the top of their list of worries. Which is precisely why these physicians, all physicians, need to be leaders – not just managers, not just worker bees.

I have been a GLMS officer for the past three years, and at every board meeting it stared at me from the backside of my name placard – our mission statement. Only in the past few months have I really taken notice. It is so elegant:

Promote the science, art and profession of medicine.

Protect the integrity of the patient-physician relationship.

Advocate for the health and well-being of the community.

Unite physicians regardless of practice setting to achieve these ends.

Doesn’t this sum up why you and I became physicians? Isn’t this a stark contrast to the default futures predicted by my USC cohorts?

I remember very little about the blur that was my first week of medical school, but I will never forget the question that one of the PhD types posed to our class. He asked us to raise our hand if we went into medicine to save the world. Without hesitation almost every hand enthusiastically went up.

“Then you are in the wrong place,” he smugly blurted into his lavalier mike. “Go learn how to grow corn in the desert. Then you will save the world.”

crops on the desert

This made me think. Why did I want to be a doctor? Was it for the prestige? The respect? The money? The power? Or was it because I wanted to have a profession where I could touch the lives of others? Relieve the suffering of a single individual? Of a multitude?

It has been my privilege to be a physician now for more than twenty-eight years. And while I still can’t fully answer the question of why I wanted to become a doctor, I can definitely say why I want to wake up tomorrow and be a doctor. It is in that mission statement.

Some of you are in the whirlwind that is medical school, others are developing confidence to match the bravado that carries you during the early years in practice, some are grinding away against the current of the faceless third-party, and some are looking back and wondering if they should have tried to grow corn on sand.

There is a default future out there. Somehow, you know what it is. If you pause and think, you can even say it out loud so it seems more real. And it will come to pass, unless you make a decision to act – unless we make a decision to act.

I am asking you to unite with your partner, your mentor, your colleagues, your spouse, your patients and me. Together we can take the first steps to change the default future. It has to start somewhere. It can start here. Right now.

We have core values that we share, and when our strategy is in line with achieving the greater good, our choice of profession becomes a higher calling.

Communication is paramount. And we must communicate passionately and effectively. Connect with your colleagues via tweets and email (find me on Twitter @jamespmurphymd; my email is president@glms.org). Join a committee, attend the meetings, call legislators, write letters to the editor, join the GLMS Alliance with your spouse and look to GLMS for leadership development opportunities. As soon as possible, download the new GLMS mobile app and read the alerts, publications and notices.

Lead. Manage if you must, but you must lead.

Breaking rocks?

Dave Logan told us of a band of laborers sweating in the hot sun in some poverty-stricken Third World country. They were pinging away at rocks with small hammers, relentless, sweat pouring, dust choking. But amazingly they seemed happy despite the mind-numbing conditions. When one was asked how he could not be miserable in the mundane task of breaking rocks, he replied, “I’m not breaking rocks, sir. I am building a cathedral.”

oaxaca cathedral

Let’s make a new future.

Let’s build a cathedral.

Sincerely,
James Patrick Murphy, MD, MMM
President, Greater Louisville Medical Society

president@glms.org

Twitter  @jamespmurphymd

 

P.S. Have you heard about what happened during my installation speech at the GLMS Presidents’ Celebration? Watch the video here.

Note: This article was first published as the

Greater Louisville Medical Society President’s eVoice,

Louisville Medicine, June 2013

The way we were…

pat and adele at washington

Pat and Adele, Spring 1985

OPIOID EMAIL RECAP

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The premier offering of “Optimal Prescribing Is Our Inherent Duty” concluded on Sunday, February 9th.  I plan on having more to say… soon.

For now, I thought it worthwhile to share the three emails I sent to our staff, participants, and faculty each evening.

It was a sincere privilege to serve with the OPIOID team.

OPIOID picture

FEBRUARY 7, 2014 – DAY ONE

Dear all OPIOID’ers,

Well, day ONE was a great success. All ten participants were energetic and focused. Our GLMS staff was superb. After an overview by yours truly, Dr. Paul Sloan gave a thorough review of pharmacology and guidelines. Then Detective Beth Ruoff did a fantastic job explaining the diversion issues facing prescribers.  Dr. Boz Tabler educated us on the science behind addiction. Lastly, Dr. Heather Tluczek joined the team and facilitated two earnest and brutally honest Healing Place peer mentors offering a gut wrenching account of the toll addiction exacts.

hp

The staff of The Healing Place was great. The room was perfectly outfitted. And the food was delicious.  And we ran on time all day! Thanks to Dr. Mary Helen Davis and Dr. Mark Boswell for stopping by for support…  the day before they present.

Tomorrow (Saturday) we are at the Greater Louisville Medical Society headquarters for DAY TWO. More great lectures, discussions, and experiential learning!  It’s happening! More later…

– Pat

old school now

FEBRUARY 8 – DAY TWO

Dear Friends of OPIOID,

Day TWO has come and gone… and what a day it was!

mhd

We convened bright and early at the Old Medical School Building (GLMS headquarters). After some camaraderie and a hot breakfast, Dr. Mary Helen Davis took us through the inner workings of KASPER, the governmental process involved in making policies, and finished with a discussion on physician motivation in the age of regulatory expansion.

boz

We then had what, to the casual observer, must have looked like group therapy – led by Dr. Boswell Tabler.  I believe this was another major breakthrough moment in the course, as the participants began to open up with personal accounts. At the end, all seemed to be fully motivated to make the changes necessary to be successful.

boz and ken

Then Dr. Ken Kirsh gave an extremely thorough review of the interface between pain and psychological issues. This was followed by Dr. Tabler’s interactive discussion on psychiatric treatment strategies.

After breaking for lunch, Dr. Mark Boswell had us enthralled by his categorical run down of the different types of challenging pain patients. He followed this with a lecture on how to screen for psychological pathology in our patient population.

Then it was on to “Pain Management Meets Speed Dating.” Dr. Heather Tluczek, along with Dr. Patrick Myers and seven other gifted actors posed as various types of challenging pain patient – allowing the course participants private one-on-one mock interviews.  This was a fast-paced, exhausting, and enlightening experiential learning exercise. Everyone had a good time and learned something about themselves.

Tomorrow Dave Hopkins will get us up to speed on KASPER. Then I will be bringing it home with a thorough run down of Kentucky’s laws and regulations. We will conclude by getting familiar with some “tools” and memory aids in order to help the participants apply their new skills efficiently in their own practice setting.

This is going great! Our GLMS staff is fabulous. Our OPIOID faculty is superb. I almost don’t want it to end.

– Pat

really dave and boz

FEBRUARY 9 – DAY THREE

Dear OPIOID friends,

In May of 2012, just after Kentucky passed House Bill One on the last day of a Special Legislative Session, the thought of having a comprehensive educational course for prescribers took root. Well, today that sapling idea bore fruit.

The inaugural OPIOID course concluded today around 1:00 pm. It was three days packed with lectures, group dynamic work, testimonials, didactics, theatre, poetry, and focused engaged effort by ten pioneering participants.

dave K

Today we had breakfast together then nourished our minds with 90 minutes of Dave Kasper, err, I mean Dave Hopkins – the KASPER director. He loaded our heads with vital information about our state’s electronic prescription monitoring program. I then led a discussion on drug screens and compliance monitoring.  During our final two hours we poured over the Kentucky pain regulations in detail and learned strategies on how to incorporate the rules effectively into our daily practice routines.

What was most gratifying to me was seeing how our participants (now to be rightly known as our “partners”) remained focused and underwent a metamorphosis of sorts. But in reality, I don’t believe they were changed in any way by the course. Instead, I believe OPIOID may have rekindled a spark in each of them that was already there – only perhaps a bit beaten down by the regulatory grind. I know I was inspired by what happen over these past three days.

I am grateful to so many people and in the coming weeks I plan on communicating that message in other formats. For now, let me just say that everyone who participated – staff, volunteers, faculty, students, and even our impromptu professor GLMS security guard “Cory” felt something special had happened over the past three days.

…and something special has begun.

Yours in earnest gratitude,

– Pat

juggle dr m

*still juggling…

patient

practice

community

*P.S. You had to be there.

3 balls

 

James Patrick Murphy, MD, MMM  is President of the Greater Louisville Medical Society.

 

OPIOID Possibilities are Limitless

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“What am I supposed to do? I’m over the limit.”

Recently I was visited by a patient “warrior”. I hadn’t known her before, but she had read one of my articles online and wanted to meet me.  I was touched. There in the foyer of our surgical center, she motored up in her electric scooter and smiled the genuine smile of a person seeing a long lost friend.

Are there limits to friendship? No.
Are there limits to prescribing opioids for pain? Maybe.

At the vortex of misinformation swirling around pain regulations is the fact that no state has limited what physicians are allowed to prescribe, although some states make it unwieldy to treat legitimate pain patients compared to other states; some set unsubstantiated quantity limits while others require consultation to a pain specialist if a predetermined (yet not scientifically proven) “morphine equivalent dose is prescribed”.  Nevertheless, no states unilaterally prohibit a prescription at any dose if the regulations are followed.  However, requiring a pain specialist in some cases may become a logistical nightmare because in most instances there are not enough pain specialists to go around.

photo-stepping-over-the-line1

To be sure they have created thresholds above which physicians are required to do certain obligatory actions like: drug screens, re-evaluations, treatment agreements, and database queries. But these requirements do not represent ceilings to what can be prescribed – as long as it is medically necessary.

Are these regulatory obligations rational, reasonable, fair, or effective? That is a subject for another article. What is true now, however, is that prescribers are drowning.

“OPIOID” is the acronym used in an upcoming seminar that aims to rescue prescribers from the regulatory maelstrom.

OPIOID picture

“OPIOID” means Optimal Prescribing Is Our Inherent Duty. It is a seminar conceived by physicians, approved by Kentucky’s Medical Board, and produced by the Greater Louisville Medical Society in association with the University of Louisville – February 7 – 9, 2014.   The goal of “OPIOID” is to empower prescribers to optimally care for suffering patients and adhere to the governing regulations.  Clinicians and support staff can register by email: physician.education@glms.org or call: 502-736-6354 or visit online at https://www.glms.org/Home.aspx (and click on the “OPIOID” tab).

My new friend, whose pain had confined her to her motorized chair, wasn’t quite convinced when I assured her that her state’s (Indiana) regulations did not limit what her doctor could prescribe. But in her friendly eyes I saw hope. And her hope gave me strength.

Am I strong enough to climb over the barriers created by these regulations? Are you?

As long as there are patients willing to fight the good fight, then so will I.  And courses like “OPIOID” provide us the tools we need to win. Together, the possibilities are limitless.

nolimits

James Patrick Murphy, MD, MMM

January 26, 2014

Note: This article was originally posted January 27, 2014 on Dr. Jeffrey Fudin’s blog http://paindr.com/opioid-possibilities-are-limitless-2

Weather the Storm with OPIOID

OPIOID Helps Caregivers Weather the Regulatory Storm

perfect-storm

Healthcare is engulfed in a torrent of regulations raining down upon caregivers. Nowhere is this more evident than in the delivery of pain care. Perhaps OPIOID is the way to weather this storm.

Allow me to explain…

Recently, I was talking with a sales rep from a drug screen lab, and our conversation naturally veered into a discussion about how states were beginning to require urine drug screens for patients receiving pain medication.

To a drug screen lab these regulations are like liquid gold.

But as easily as regulations are passed, they can be erased. And if the success of a lab is based on the existence of a regulation, then the business model is built on thin ice and for the wrong reasons.  If the regulations dry up, so does lab.

I’m a physician, and – like the lab – I expect compensation for what I do.

What I do is care for people by applying factual knowledge, energized by creativity, in accordance with evidence-based protocols, while remaining cognizant of the mysteries still misunderstood and the mysteries awaiting discovery. It’s a marriage of science and art.

I know that following regulations goes along with the territory. But following regulations does not make me jump out of bed every morning with passion and determination. A regulation never delivered a baby, bypassed a clogged artery, or discovered a cure. People do these things.  People need these things. I’d rather work for people than a regulation.

The delivery of pain care is perhaps the most regulated activity in medicine. And depending on the state, the regulations can seem foreboding to the caregiver.  The message is clear. Either get on board or the Board will get on you.

The thought of abandoning our suffering patients out of fear is bitter. The thought of losing our licenses is chilling. And the thought renouncing our calling as patient advocates to blindly follow regulations we don’t even understand…  is demoralizing.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Remember my lab rep? My advice to her was to go back to her supervisors and suggest that they promote their product primarily as a means to help patients by helping prescribers. Then they would be serving the best interest of millions of people, as opposed to serving at the pleasure of a few hundred lawmakers. In other words, make improved quality of life the real goal – not adherence to regulations.

OPIOID picture

That’s what OPIOID is all about.   OPIOID means Optimal Prescribing Is Our Inherent Duty – a seminar conceived by physicians, approved by Kentucky’s Medical Board, and produced by the Greater Louisville Medical Society in association with the University of Louisville – February 7 – 9, 2014.   The goal of OPIOID is to empower prescribers to optimally care for suffering patients and adhere to the governing regulations.  People can register by email: physician.education@glms.org or call: 502-736-6354 or visit online at: https://www.glms.org/Home.aspx (and click on the “OPIOID” tab).

OPIOID is a prime example of caregivers holding steadfast to their calling in the regulatory storm.  Please spread the word. Together we can weather this.

rainbow-500x375

James Patrick Murphy, MD, MMM

January 26, 2014

Note: This article was first published January 27,2014  on http://www.drjohnmdthe blog by John Mandrola, M.D.

 

The Urgent Need for OPIOID

two tangential universes: therapeutic and pathologic

tangential u darko

In the therapeutic universe suffering is relieved, lives are enhanced, and hope is restored. Central to this universe are the pain care needs of 100 million suffering Americans.

In the pathologic universe suffering is unleashed, lives are enslaved, and hope is shattered.  Ruler of this realm is drug abuse – now killing even more Americans than automobile accidents.

Common to both universes is the prescriber – and the tangent point is OPIOID.

OPIOID picture

OPIOID means Optimal Prescribing Is Our Inherent Duty – a seminar conceived by physicians, approved by the medical board, and produced by the Greater Louisville Medical Society in association with the University of LouisvilleFebruary 7, 8 & 9.

American Medical Association Board Chair (and Kentuckian) Steven J. Stack, MD says:

Physician education on responsible opioid prescribing is a critical element in addressing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

Todd Cook, MD, Chief Medical Officer of St. Elizabeth Physicians (Northern Kentucky) says:

This is one of the times when sending a responsible party proactively may provide a great return on the investment for all of us.

Participants in this two and a half day course will gain insight on how to: (a) best prescribe controlled substances for chronic pain, (b) minimize the risks of drug abuse, and (c) safeguard their communities. These goals are achieved through lectures, coaching sessions, and face-to-face interaction with individuals battling addiction.

louisville skyline

Louisville is a point shared by two states (Kentucky & Indiana) that, like many other states, have recently enacted laws to address prescription drug abuse. When such well-meaning laws give legitimate prescribers the chills, a dose of OPIOID is the right prescription.

Finally, an OPIOID epidemic we can all get behind.

Please make it contagious. Pass along this info, refer someone, or even better – sign up yourself.

OPIOID  February 7 – 9, 2014

Register by

Email: physician.education@glms.org

Or call: 502-736-6354

opioid tab

Or visit online at: https://www.glms.org/Home.aspx (and click on the “OPIOID” tab).

 

enterprise

Boldly go where no prescriber has gone before.

Take back your universe.

take back universe

OPIOID

James Patrick Murphy, MD, MMM  is President of the Greater Louisville Medical Society.

rx and pen and pad

NIDA & the Facts on Marijuana

The National Institute on Drug Abuse Offers the Facts on Marijuana

NIDA1

From the website:

http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

marijuana-smoker1

Marijuana…

Use is rampant:

“Marijuana is the most common illicit drug used in the United States.”

brain damage

Has a powerful effect on the brain:

“Marijuana overactivates the endocannabinoid system, causing the high and other effects that users experience. These include distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory.”

Interferes with successful lives:

“Heavy marijuana users generally report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, relationship problems, and less academic and career success.”

Damages the brains of young people:

“Research from different areas is converging on the fact that regular marijuana use by young people can have long-lasting negative impact on the structure and function of their brains.”

Permanently lowers IQ:

“A recent study of marijuana users who began using in adolescence revealed a profound deficit in connections between brain areas responsible for learning and memory. And a large prospective study (following individuals across time) showed that people who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost as much as 8 points in IQ between age 13 and age 38; importantly, the lost cognitive abilities were not restored in those who quit smoking marijuana as adults.”

Causes heart disease:

“Marijuana raises heart rate by 20-100 percent shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours. In one study, it was estimated that marijuana users have a 4.8-fold increase in the risk of heart attack in the first hour after smoking the drug.” 

car wreck

Causes car wrecks:

“A recent analysis of data from several studies found that marijuana use more than doubles a driver’s risk of being in an accident.”

Damages the lungs:

“People who smoke marijuana frequently but do not smoke tobacco have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers, mainly because of respiratory illnesses.”

Causes psychiatric illness:

“A series of large prospective studies also showed a link between marijuana use and later development of psychosis. Associations have also been found between marijuana use and other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts among adolescents, and personality disturbances.”

fetus

Damages babies:

“Marijuana use during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of neurobehavioral problems in babies. Consequences for the child may include problems with attention, memory, and problem solving.”

Medical-Cannabis

Is NOT a legitimate medicine:

“The FDA requires carefully conducted studies in large numbers of patients (hundreds to thousands) to accurately assess the benefits and risks of a potential medication. To be considered a legitimate medicine, a substance must have well-defined and measureable ingredients that are consistent from one unit (such as a pill or injection) to the next.”

Is definitely addictive:

“Contrary to common belief, marijuana is addictive. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent, or 1 in 6) and among daily users (to 25-50 percent).”

And is more potent that ever:

“The amount of THC in marijuana samples confiscated by police has been increasing steadily over the past few decades.”

Read more:  http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana-abuse

drug facts week

Leadership Louisville Comes to The Old Medical School

old school now

On January 7, 2014 the current Leadership Louisville class met at the Greater Louisville Medical Society Foundation’s “Old Medical School Building.” Here is a portion my welcome…

white coat

There is a lot of history in this room.

old_military at med school

The building was opened as a medical school in 1893 and has withstood The Great Depression, floods, two world wars, and the wrecking ball. It stands as a testament to the passion, resiliency and dedication of the medical profession. Today Leadership Louisville adds to that legacy.

Your director, Aaron Miller, asked me if I was “glad to be standing on this side of the podium” since I was a member of last year’s Leadership Louisville class.

“Sure,” I said. But I also enjoyed my time sitting in front of the podium in 2013. My days with Leadership Louisville were great. It was fantastic hanging out with dynamic people, focusing on topics relevant to the success of our city, making new friends outside of my medical cocoon, and taking a break from my cell phone to engage personally with diversely talented people.

So, why here? Why today?

In the last decade Louisville has shifted from an industrial to a service economy; with an emphasis on health care delivery. In fact, six of Louisville’s ten largest employers are in health care.

The Greater Louisville Medical Society is out in front of this transformation.

Our success is tied to our mission: “…to promote the art and science of medicine; to protect the patient-physician relationship; and to ensure the health of our community.” This journey is comprised of advocacy, education, creativity, mission work, public health, and philanthropy.  Our vehicle is our organization. Our structure is built by bonds of trust.  And our engine is fueled by our passion.

There are many illustrations of our commitment to this mission. These include the cutting-edgePulse of Surgery” program for students at the Louisville Science Center; the world-renowned Healing Place Addiction Recovery program; Supplies Over Seas, sending life-saving medical supplies and equipment to impoverished countries; and the OPIOID safe prescribing initiative, combatting prescription drug abuse. These and other efforts were born of GLMS member collaborations.

There is one program in particular of which you should take note – our “Wear the White Coat” internship program. Every year we team community leaders with physicians from various specialties and allow them to spend a day walking in the shoes of a physician. Later the group reconvenes in the very room you are in now to share. We physicians learn as much from our “interns” as they learn from us. At the end, everyone feels connected, hopeful and inspired.  Each of you will be invited this year.

old school postcard

So, there is a lot of history in this room. But there is a lot of future too.

Thanks for being here and being a part of that future.

 me and business with the residents

James Patrick Murphy, MD, MMM is President of the Greater Louisville Medical Society, Medical Director of Murphy Pain Center, and Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He is an alumnus of the Leadership Louisville Class of 2013. On his application to Leadership Louisville, he answered the question: “What is the best kept secret about Louisville?” with The Greater Louisville Medical Society. If you are reading this, hopefully it is not a secret any longer.

Is This Future Unstoppable?

Recently I sent an email asking people to describe where they see medicine heading in the next ten years. Most responses were pretty bleak: long lines, rationing, impersonal care, managing populations instead of individuals, physicians being absorbed as simply cogs in a large machine.

Is this future unstoppable?

floating granite ball

It reminds me of this huge granite sphere outside the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in Gatlinburg. It’s extremely heavy and is rotating with tremendous momentum on a fountain of water.  There are always people putting their hands on the slick ball of rock trying to spin it faster or slow it down. But the rock is too heavy with too much inertia.  I want you to remember that image. We’ll come back to that.

Dave Logan is a professor at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.  He taught me many things but perhaps nothing as practical as this tip on how to answer to any question and seem enlightened. You know the scene; you are standing in that semicircle, pretending to be engaged in the conversation. But your mind is on basketball recruiting, your sixteen year old driving on her new license, what you are going to get your wife for your tenth anniversary next week. And then you suddenly realize the conversation has stopped and everyone is looking at you, because you‘ve just been asked: “And what do you think about that?”

Instead of panicking, Dave said to look off in the distance, take a sip of your drink, a deep breath, look the person right in the eye and say, “It all comes down to trust and communication.”  I’ve actually used that line.  It does work, because it’s true.

Let’s talk about trust.

When my son was three years old, he needed a pretty big surgery. Since I am an anesthesiologist I got to go back to the OR and hold him as he went to sleep. As I placed that mask over his face for him to breathe the gases, as he looked right at me, the trust he had in me was overwhelming. And when he was asleep, and I gave him to the anesthesiologist, Steve Auden, I had entrusted him with what was most precious in my life.

Time and again we are privileged and honored with the opportunity to hold the lives of our patients in our hands. And no matter what you do in this profession, there is always a doctor-patient relationship.  It is based on trust, it is sacred, it is worth fighting for, and it is in jeopardy unless we unite and lead.

Physician leadership is powerful.  And our leadership is not just needed in the boardrooms of the private sector. It is needed were our laws are made.  I am not here to debate the merits of things like Affordable Care Act, Kentucky’s House Bill One, the Optometrist Bill, and others.  I will tell you that I am not comfortable with the way these laws affecting health care are passed.  Are you?

We need to be there to defend the rights of our patients – in the boardrooms, in the executive suites, in Frankfort, in Washington. Like my son, trusting me with that anesthesia mask over his face, our patients, our loved ones, our neighbors, our city, our state, our country, our world trusts us.  They count on us to be there.  They assume we are there.  And we can’t let them down.

The Greater Louisville Medical Society offers leadership development opportunities that can help you feel comfortable in your own skin when you might be outside your comfort zone. My experience is a prime example of how this works. In 2002, Dr. Fred Williams asked me to take over the medical student mentoring program. I enjoyed it. This led to my being asked to run for secretary.  Later, Dr. Rob Zaring arranged a leadership class at GLMS with the American College of Physician Executives, which got me interested in their other courses. Then on this past Friday I graduated from USC with a Masters degree in Medical Management.  And today I begin the journey as your president.

So how in the world do we change things?

We have to be united and effective.

Another valuable lesson from Professor Logan is from his book titled Tribal Leadership. In it he talks about the evolution of effective organizations or “tribes.” A level one tribe would wear t-shirts that say, “Life sucks.” They are like cave men or prisoners.  A level two tribe has t-shirts that say, “My life sucks.” Picture the DMV on a bad day.  A level three tribe says, “I’m great and you’re not”.  This is how too many professional organizations operate. The focus is on getting ahead, awards, and accolades. It is very competitive.  The jump from “I am great” to “WE are great” is huge. This is a level four tribe. Level four tribes share common values and have focus. For these tribes the sky is the limit.

When I was accepted into the pain fellowship program at the Mayo Clinic, I was at first intimidated. Did I measure up? Was I good enough? How would I stand out?  One day, during my first month, Dr. Ronald MacKenzie stopped me in the hall to see how things were going. After a little small talk, he asked, “Do you know what makes this place great?”  I expected him to quiz me about the many discoveries and Nobel prizes. And then he pointed over my shoulder to a janitor sweeping in the hallway. “It’s because that person, and everyone else who works here, believes what they do is important to our mission.”  That’s level four culture – the secret to the Mayo Clinic. It’s that simple.

Remember that huge granite ball spinning in front of the Ripley’s Museum? A couple of years ago I was standing across the street watching this little kid who was determined to stop that rock from spinning. He had both hands on the rock but nothing appeared to be happening. Eventually some other kids thought it looked like fun and started pushing the sphere as well. Nothing changed.  Eventually some teenagers came over and joined in.   Now there were kids on all sides of the rock. I could tell, even from across the street, that the spinning rock was beginning to slow down. Until it happened! The rock quit rotating, stopped, and then began moving in the other direction.

We have all that we need: ability, passion, work ethic, and trust. But we must be nimble, be flexible, able to improvise. We MUST BE UNITED. We can choose not to accept the future as inevitable. We can put our hands on that huge granite ball and start turning it back in the other direction.

The final passage of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” contains perhaps my favorite line of poetry:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run,                                      yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.

That unforgiving minute is now. It all comes down to trust and communication. We know we have the trust. We MUST communicate. We must unite. Here are the actions you can do today which will help unite us:

Number 1: Download the GLMS smartphone app now (members only).

Number 2: Follow me this year on TWITTER (@jamespmurphymd). If you don’t know, ask any teenager and they’ll walk you through it.

Number 3: Because communication is a two-way street, email me at president@glms.org and tell me what you want our future to look like.

If all else fails, call me (502-589-2001).

The Greater Louisville Medical Society is our organization, our tribe, our road to a place where medicine is both science and art, where our community enjoys wellness, and the sacred bond between us and our patients is secure.

Imagine that future. Let’s go there together. Let’s get connected. Let’s unite. Let’s start the journey today.

Dr M speaking

Note: This article is the text draft of an address I made to the members of the Greater Louisville Medical Society on May 19, 2013. It was first published in the July 2013 issue of Louisville Medicine and the speech can be viewed online at the GLMS Vimeo Channel.

a white coat

caring hands copy 2

a white coat
I symbolize
the goals you hope
to realize

a white coat
my color’s pure
to show your values
will endure

a white coat
I will glisten
if you can try
to mostly listen

a white coat
in my presence
comfort, care and
convalescence

a white coat
wear this fashion
only if
you share my passion

a white coat
for my profession
put patients first
make no concession

a white coat
answer alarm
with answers that
first do no harm

a white coat
hear the calling
wear me when
you lift the falling

a white coat
my fabric must
be nothing but
a weave of trust

a white coat
ability
tailored with
humility

a white coat
a solemn oath
a way of life
or maybe both

a white coat
I’m going to
forever be
a part of you

 

James Patrick Murphy, MD
July 28, 2013

white coat standing

On July 28, 2013, the University of Louisville welcomed the Class of 2017 medical students. As an annual contribution to each new generation of emerging physicians, the Greater Louisville Medical Society purchases the students’ first white coat. It was my honor to congratulate the students on behalf of the Greater Louisville Medical Society. I composed the poem, “a white coat,” for the occasion and read it aloud for the first time at the White Coat Ceremony (Louisville Medicine, Sept 2013, pp. 20-22).

https://www.glms.org/Content/User/Documents/Publications/LouisvilleMedicineSeptember2013.pdf