“Dealing with patients suffering from drug overdoses is an old problem for hospitals. But as healthcare providers and government and private insurers put more emphasis on controlling costs, today the problem has a new urgency.
“We are seeing more unintentional drug overdoses from prescription drugs and their misuse,” said Liz Stallings, director of the clinical operations division of HFS Consultants, which specializes in behavioral health. That’s coupled with a rise in heroin addiction, as patients turn to that drug as an alternate source for a fix when doctors stop prescribing the opioid pain medications to which they’ve become addicted. Heroin use can increase the risks of an overdose for prescription drug abusers because many of these people likely have no idea how to manage street drug dosages, she said.
Hospitals bear the costs of all this in a number of ways, starting with having to treat a fast-growing population. A study conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicine last year analyzing 2010 data from hospitals nationwide found that prescription painkillers were involved in nearly 68 percent of opioid-related overdoses treated in emergency departments; heroin accounted for 16.1 percent of overdoses. About half of the patients in the study sample who went to the emergency room for opioid overdoses were admitted to the hospital and costs for both inpatient and emergency care totaled nearly $2.3 billion, it revealed.”
Source: HealthcareFinanceNews.com – October 9, 2015