Coalition Launches Opioid Safety Pilot Programs in Partnership with Colorado Medical Specialty Societies

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLO. – Jan. 25, 2019 – Today, a coalition of Colorado Hospital Association (CHA), the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Colorado Medical Society (CMS) announced the launch of a new safety initiative – The Colorado Opioid Solution – Colorado Clinicians United to Resolve the Epidemic (CO’s CURE). This program seeks to create partnerships between Colorado’s hospitals and the state’s medical specialty societies to develop the nation’s first comprehensive, multispecialty medical guidelines for limiting opioid use and increasing the use of alternatives to opioids (ALTOs).

The CO’s CURE initiative will provide the resources to convene medical specialty society organizations to develop and implement new evidence-based opioid prescribing guidelines to pilot in Colorado hospitals and medical practices. The specialty-derived guidelines will be built around four pillars that all specialties can adhere to – limit opioid use, use ALTOs for treatment of pain, implement harm reduction strategies and improve treatment and referral of patients with opioid use disorder – while also allowing the specifics of each set of guidelines to be tailored to the nuances of each specialty.

The first phase of CO’s CURE will be led by the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Society of Hospital Medicine, which represents the state’s hospitalists. Hospitalists provide care in the hospital for patients who are admitted. The organization is currently working the coalition to develop guidelines for hospitalists that can be piloted at a Colorado hospital later this year. This first phase will be funded by a State Opiate Response grant through the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health.

“Our goal is to continue the important work that Colorado hospitals and providers have already partnered on – treating pain while also reducing harm – through the development of additional opioid prescribing guidelines,” said Darlene Tad-y, MD, physician advisor, CHA. “This initiative continues the successful model of having clinicians help champion the work, which accelerates the rate of adoption and sustainability. We look forward to working with our state’s specialty societies to develop and trial these guidelines and ultimately help resolve the opioid epidemic in Colorado’s communities and lower costs for the entire health care system.”

CHA, in partnership with the Colorado Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (CO-ACEP), launched a six-month pilot study in 2017 of the CO-ACEP opioid guidelines in 10 hospital emergency departments, which demonstrated an average 36 percent reduction in opioid administration and 31 percent increase in the use of ALTOs. The pilot has since been expanded into the Colorado ALTO Project and rolled out across the state and beyond.

Colorado Hospital Association

Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) is the leading voice of Colorado’s hospital and health system community. Representing more than 100 hospitals and health systems throughout the state, CHA serves as a trusted, credible and reliable resource on health issues, hospital data and trends for its members, media, policymakers and the general public. Through CHA, Colorado’s hospitals and health systems work together in their shared commitment to improve health and health care in Colorado. Learn more at www.cha.com.

Colorado Consortium of Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

The Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention coordinates Colorado’s response to the misuse of medications such as opioids, stimulants, and sedatives. The Consortium’s mission is to reduce prescription drug misuse and abuse in Colorado by developing policies, programs and partnerships with the many Colorado agencies, organizations and community coalitions addressing one of the state’s major public health crises. For more information, visit www.corxconsortium.org.

Colorado Medical Society

The Colorado Medical Society (CMS) advocates for Colorado physicians, residents and medical students in the legislative, regulatory and legal arenas. Physician priorities drive the CMS mission to champion health care issues that improve patient care, promote physician professional satisfaction and create healthier communities in Colorado. For more information, visit www.cms.org.