HCN News & Notes

AMA Suggests Changes to CDC Policies on Opioids

CHICAGO — The American Medical Assoc. (AMA) released comments this week on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) proposed opioid-prescription policy.

The AMA applauded the CDC for treating the epidemic of opioid-overdose deaths as a high priority, as it has done in addressing other serious epidemics. The AMA is extremely pleased that the CDC reopened the comment period to hear from frontline physicians who are treating patients with pain, as well as from patients and their families who experience chronic pain. The AMA urged the CDC to coordinate and align its efforts with other key federal office and agencies.

The AMA shares with CDC the goal of reducing harm from opioid abuse and seeking solutions to end this public-health epidemic. The AMA assembled the Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse — comprised of the American Osteopathic Assoc., the American Dental Assoc., and more than 20 physician organizations — to identify best practices to combat the epidemic and move swiftly to implement those practices across the country.

While it continues to be largely supportive of the guidelines, the AMA suggested modifications that would help establish conditions more conducive to implementation in a patient-centered fashion. Evidence is lacking to support some of the proposals, and there is some conflict with existing federal and state policies. The AMA is hopeful that the forthcoming advisory panel, which will provide input into the final version, will include patient advocates and more physicians who treat chronic pain and opioid-use disorder.