Leadership Corner: Opioid Stewardship Continued Focus for MHA

Posted on October 03, 2019

The Leadership Corner features monthly updates from the MHA leadership team. The updates will provide new insights to patient safety and quality as well as information obtained from healthcare workshops and conferences across the country.

Michelle Norcross, MSA, senior director of safety and quality, MHA Keystone Center, discusses the MHA and the MHA Keystone Center’s continued efforts to decrease opioid use statewide.

Michelle NorcrossOctober is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. The annual observance aims to educate, raise awareness and reduce the stigma of substance use disorder. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) demonstrates 70,237 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2017, which breaks down to 192 drug overdose deaths daily. In Michigan, drug overdose deaths increased 13.9% from 2016 to 2017. 

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) and Michigan hospitals have been helping fight this deadly epidemic by working with lawmakers, state departments, physicians and the public to raise awareness and improve clinical processes.

The MHA served on the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force, an effort formed by former Gov. Rick Snyder in 2015, which included a comprehensive report and more than two dozen recommendations for changes in regulations and practices that could help address the growing problem of substance abuse in Michigan. The MHA Keystone Center has also worked with its member hospitals to educate patients, improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs associated with opioid use and has received national recognition for its Pain Management collaborative in 2016.

The 2018-2019 program year, the MHA Board of Directors prioritized working to further enhance opioid stewardship, specifically targeting activities to decrease opioid use statewide and further improve access to care for those with opioid use disorder. The MHA Keystone Center will continue to expand upon its existing efforts and look at additional ways to partner with others to drive more meaningful improvement within these areas.

In 2018, the Great Lakes Partners for Patients Hospital Improvement Innovation Network launched the Midwest Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) program in emergency departments (EDs) across Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin with a goal to reduce administration of opioids and increase use of ALTOs. During the first seven months of the 12-month project, EDs have reduced opioid use by 10.9% and increased the use of ALTOs by 13%. Based on the early success of this program, the MHA Keystone Center recently launched a second cohort of Midwest ALTO. Hospitals are encouraged to enroll via email.

The MHA Keystone Center will have the opportunity to engage with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services through its newly received grant from the CDC. The Overdose Data to Action is a three-year cooperative agreement that started in September 2019 and focuses on the complex and changing nature of the drug overdose epidemic. It also highlights the need for an interdisciplinary, comprehensive and cohesive public health approach. Funds awarded as part of this agreement support state, territorial, county and city health departments in obtaining higher quality, more comprehensive and timelier data on overdose morbidity and mortality and using the data to inform prevention and response efforts. Additional information will be available soon on the specific work the MHA Keystone Center will engage in.

The State of Michigan has also secured funding for an additional year to cover the costs of the Michigan Automated Prescription System integration with electronic medical records. Providers and health systems interested in applying for continued or new MAPS integration can do so online.

Each hospital or health system must complete Addendum A and add it to the Terms and Conditions to ensure the funding is secured. It is important to note when submitting completed addendums that organization names must match the original Terms and Conditions submission. Completed addendums can be emailed directly to the Bureau of Professional Licensing or faxed to (517) 241-0172. Once received and processed, a countersigned copy will be returned to your organization. The announcement regarding continued funding can be found on the MHA newsroom.

For continued updates, resources or to learn more about the opioid stewardship efforts of the MHA and MHA Keystone Center, visit the MHA's Opioid Epidemic webpage.

This article was featured in the MHA Keystone Center Newsletter. To subscribe, please contact the MHA Keystone Center.


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  • Leadership Corner: Opioid Stewardship Continued Focus for MHA

Tags: MAPS, opioids, ALTO Program, Michelle Norcross

Posted in: MHA Rounds, Patient Safety & Quality

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