WSJ – CDC Issues Guidelines to Limit Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions

Wall Street Journal LogoWSJ – CDC Issues Guidelines to Limit Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by journalist by Betsy McKay, concerned the CDC’s guidelines to limit Opioid painkillers. This article is being widely read by medical billing companies and physicians alike.  The Center for Disease Control’s voluntary guidelines for primary care physicians skew towards over the counter remedies like ibuprofen and physical therapy.

The guidelines also warned limiting acute pain situations to no more than 3 days’ worth of prescriptions pills to slow down both the addiction and/or selling of such medication. That is the CDC wants doctor’s to see the benefits of these other treatments outweigh any pain reduction gains with the opioids. The CDC had pressure due to higher addiction rates and increase overdosing on opioids to promulgate the voluntary guidelines. Doctors, Insurer’s and public health groups were/are in strong support.

However, pharmaceutical companies, pain management companies and chronic pain patients are opposed to the guidelines.  Certainly, profits from fewer opioids would decrease but that is already happening as doctors really were already prescribing opioids far less in the last few years. Companies are researching drugs that are harder to abuse or do not contain opioids while maintaining pain reduction benefits.

Ms. McKay highlights, “the prescription opioid abuse epidemic has affected urban and rural areas, rich and poor communities, babies, adults and the elderly alike, Dr. Frieden said. “It really is a pervasive epidemic that has been triggered in very large part by excessive prescribing of these medications,” he said. The CDC says that 249 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication were written by health-care providers in 2013. Prescription pain medication sales—including both opioid and nonopioid drugs—totaled $20.4 billion in 2014, according to health-care data provider IMS Health.”

The voluntary guidelines are really a reflection of what is already happening in the primary care physician world anyway as these doctors typically prescribe over half of the opioids. The reduction as previously mentioned was already underway several years ago and the trend down continues.

Much like opioids are being prescribed less, doctors are more challenged on their medical billing. The ICD-10 contains over 70,000 diagnoses and getting the diagnosis wrong can delay insurer/CMS payment thus adversely affecting cashflow. Add to that EHR software and hardware overhead and this billing expense for medical offices is quite outlandish and expensive.

Your solution is Physicians Billing Service where we use a state of the art cloud infrastructure to keep hardware and software costs to a minimum. With us, we bill within 24 hours and we do not get paid until you get paid if we do the billing. Our expert and experienced staff bill it right the first time and ensure timely payment. That is the prescription for a medical system asking doctors’ offices to do more with less. Call owner Michelle Stahl at 703-978-0756 or contact her or our staff from our website by clicking here.

Widely regarded as one of the best medical billing companies and outsourced medical billing companies in the United States, we are proud to work with leading physicians from coast to coast including:  New York NY, Rochester NY, Arlington VA and Washington DC.

To read ‘CDC Issues Guidelines to Limit Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions’ on the Wall Street Journal web site, click here.


By Michelle Stahl, Owner, Physicians Billing Service

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