CCWV targets opioid epidemic

Submitted photo Pictured from left are Dr. Sarah Chouinard, chief medical officer of Community Care of West Virginia; Rob Fleming, Ph.D., director of the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative at the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services; Lt. Cmdr. Fred Butler Jr., senior advisor for integration and quality at CMS; Greg Wolverton, chief information officer of ARcare; Dr. Paul McGann, chief medical officer for quality improvement at CMS; and Dr. Paul Rosen, medical officer of the Transforming Clinical Practice initiative in the Centers for Clinical Standards and Quality at CMS.

BUCKHANNON — Officials with Community Care of West Virginia recently presented their efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in West Virginia in front of healthcare organizations from around the nation during the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Quality Conference.

Dr. Sarah Chouinard, chief medical officer for Community Care of West Virginia, gave a presentation detailing the healthcare organization’s pain management program during a conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on Feb. 12-14. Nearly 2,500 health professionals met during the conference.

Chouinard’s presentation focused on CCWV’s treatment plans for patients with chronic pain that prevent the misuse and potential addiction to opioids.

“We’re making sure that we can provide effective care to our patients, and that includes working with them to help manage their pain in ways that won’t lead to long-term problems, like addiction,” said Rick Simon, chief executive officer for CCWV.

During the conference, Chouinard outlined CCWV’s program and strategies for how to combat the opioid problem. The model creates a plan for patients with chronic pain and expands education for patients and providers. The CCWV pain management clinic has been in operation since 2012.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Chouinard was able to share this program with our colleagues around the nation,” Simon stated. “The Mountain State is ground zero in the war on opioid abuse, and Community Care of West Virginia is a leader in the fight against it. This program works, and we want everyone to have access to the concept.”

Community Care of West Virginia’s pain management program addresses all of the needs of a patient with chronic pain and develops a care plan accordingly.

Patients in the program are assessed by a behavioral health care professional to determine the risk for addiction. Patients are then educated about the program and must sign an agreement to which they consent to random pill counts, drug screenings and ongoing monitoring through the program. From there, a pain management plan is set, part of which includes how to safely wean off of the prescribed medication once it is no longer needed.

“We are a state-based healthcare provider that was founded locally,” Simon noted. “We are proud of what we have been able to do here for our communities and neighbors.”

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