Nurse Practitioners Wrote More Pain Prescriptions in 2013

May 5th, 2014 | by RON BELL

Chronic pain management centers and their pain doctors are specially trained to treat primarily chronic pain management patients.  Once a patient is placed on narcotics such as Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Roxicodone, Morphine, Tramadol, Vicodin, etc… and is stabilized, the pain doctor then in turn allows a nurse practitioner to handle the follow-up appointments.  A patient can go months or years without ever seeing the primary chronic pain doctor on staff again, unless a visit is requested.  The controversy among medical analysts and professionals is, does this cause more medical malpractice claims?  Should chronic pain doctors be mandated to see their patients annually themselves or is a nurse practitioner consult sufficient?

A “2014 Drug Trend Report” found that more opioid prescriptions for injured workers in 2013 were written by nurse practitioners than actual pain management physicians.  Six million narcotics were prescribed in 2013 based on more than 300,000 claims studied out of two pharmacy programs at Progressive Medical Inc. and PMSI Inc.

Dr. Robert Hall, medical director of Progressive and PMSI, said the trend likely has to do with accessibility.  “Once physicians reach a level of capacity and can no longer bring in additional patients, they’ll hire midlevel practitioners to help take care of maintaining the prescribing for their patients who are stabilized so they can open up additional time slots in their schedules for new patients,” Mr. Hall said. “It improves the accessibility for patients and injured workers to see their providers more frequently.”  However, the study did not fully conclude medical malpractice data comparing nurse practitioners and physicians.

Medical malpractice concerning prescribed narcotics and pain management is a nationwide concern.  People go to hospitals and seek out specialist to receive answers to medical questions and illnesses.  It has become our nature to trust medical professionals; however, there are times when doctors, nurses or hospitals are negligent and must pay sufficient compensation for that negligence.  The damages vary depending on the severity of the medical practice.  Consulting with a medical malpractice attorney is the only way to ensure your rights are protected.

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