Teton Valley Health announces controlled-substance program

Teton Valley Health is launching a new approach to strengthen support for patients using certain prescription medications. Starting August 1, patients who’ve been routinely prescribed specific types of drugs for pain relief, anxiety or insomnia will be invited to join a program designed to address their needs. The program offers options and support to ensure that all medications are necessary and working effectively, and to prevent or reduce reliance on controlled substances that are known to be misused or at higher risk for addiction.

People who are prescribed drugs currently classified at Category II or III levels for 3 months or longer and those prescribed Schedule II drugs in combination with certain other drugs are encouraged to participate. These drug categories have a moderate to high potential for significant physical or psychological dependence and when taken in certain combinations increase the risk of respiratory problems, and include Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Ativan, Valium, and Ambien.

Medication and treatment plan reviews and adjustments, and progress guided by patient input are all components of the program. The pain management team will work with the patient’s primary care provider. Patients who are offered program participation may decline and continue to receive healthcare from their provider, however, most non-acute controlled medications will no longer be prescribed by any provider at TVH for patients not active in this program.

The new program consists of an initial interview and exam with Anna Giemza-Palmer, Nurse Practitioner. Individualized treatment plans are designed with recommendations from Dr. Marc Porot, Pain Management Specialist, along with the patient’s primary care provider and other specialists who may be involved in their care.  Drug screening tests will also be reviewed by the team to help determine appropriate medication amounts and to detect any abnormal effects. Alternative methods of coping with pain and anxiety may also be suggested, such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture.

A recent statistic from the Centers for Disease Control states that in Idaho, there are 86 painkiller prescriptions for every 100 people, a number that proves there are too many controlled medications being dispensed by medical professionals,according to Keith Gnagey, TVH CEO.

“There are medications that are proven to alleviate debilitating pain and anxiety and unfortunately, those same drugs can become very dangerous in long term use and in certain combinations. We believe that healthcare organizations should actively work to improve the health of individuals on these medications,” says Keith.

For more information about Teton Valley Health’s new program, contact info@tvhcare.org.