The opioid epidemic is a front and center issue for our state. Like most complex issues, there are no simple answers, and it will take collaborative efforts that span the health care continuum to effectively address. An excellent example of such collaboration was the passing of HB 2730 this legislative session.
Key stakeholders recognized that the Physician Monitoring Program (PMP) data, a key component in understanding the epidemic, was cumbersome and underutilized, and so they began to work on a solution. The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) supported HB 2730 in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Health and the Washington State Medical Association, and the result was a law that made it so that 14,000 licensed providers, hospitals and health systems would have a much easier time accessing this vital data.
Washington Hospital Services’ (WHS) Industry Partner Cordant Health Solutions was also working with the legislature to help tackle this problem. In 2012, Cordant felt that if they could integrate toxicology with the PMP data, they could create a service that could improve how care was delivered to patients. In 2015, they testified in favor of SB 5027, which would allow clinical laboratories with SAMHSA certification to use the PMP database. This bill passed, and as a result, Cordant — one of two SAMHSA certified laboratories in Washington — is now able to correlate their laboratory results with prescribing patterns to create reports that can illuminate what is going on in any given patient population. This report demonstrates just how detailed these can be, and now that they can use the PMP data, they can help providers and organizations quantify the results of their prescribing practices.
This is just one way that Cordant is dedicated to helping stakeholders understand and address the opioid epidemic. They have also expanded their services to include a controlled substance pharmacy and drug take back programs so that their clients have even more tools to close the loop on opioids.