July 29, 2021

Around the nation: AMA calls for overhaul of CDC opioid prescribing guidelines

Daily Briefing

    The American Medical Association in a letter to CDC said the current opioid prescription guidelines limit patients' access to pain management options, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Illinois, Louisiana, and Massachusetts.

    • Illinois: The American Medical Association (AMA) last week called for CDC to significantly revise its current guidelines for opioid prescriptions, which the organization said limits patients' access to pain management care. In a letter to CDC, AMA argued the guidelines, which were originally issued in 2016 to address the opioid crisis, fail to adequately respond to the current opioid epidemic. Despite widely adopted prescribing restrictions, drug overdose deaths reached a record height of 93,331 in 2020—a trend that has largely been fueled by sales of illegal fentanyl. A CDC workgroup reviewing potential changes to the prescribing guidelines last month issued a report acknowledging some of the AMA's concerns, but no action has been taken yet. (Johnson, Modern Healthcare, 7/22)
    • Louisiana: The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections on Tuesday announced it would suspend visitation and volunteering efforts at all state-run prisons amid record surges in Covid-19 cases in the state. The suspension, which is effective immediately, will remain in place until Aug. 16, when the department will review whether the measure will be extended or lifted. The department said it made the decision "out of an abundance of caution" concerning the number of positive Covid-19 cases in the state. According to the department, inmates will be offered two free weekly phone calls and paid video calling during the visitation suspension. (Castronuovo, The Hill, 7/27)
    • Massachusetts: Twenty-two private colleges in the state—including Boston College, Boston University, MIT, and Harvard University—are enacting Covid-19 vaccine mandates for their employees. For several schools, such as Clark University and Harvard, the deadline for employees to be vaccinated has already passed, but at other schools, employees will have to show proof of vaccination within the next few weeks. In addition to the vaccination mandates, several schools will keep Covid-19 precautions such as masking and regular testing in place during the upcoming school year. Currently, no public or community colleges in the state are requiring their employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19. (Welker, Boston Business Journal, 7/28)

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