Washington State Medical and Hospital Associations applaud Gov. Inslee’s leadership in addressing the opioid crisis

October 7, 2016

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Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, WSHA
Vice President, Membership and Communications
(206) 216-2894
Graham Short, WSMA
Associate Director of Communications
(206) 441-9762

The associations’ Joint Opioid Safe Practices Task Force supports the governor’s executive order and its coordinated approach to ending the opioid epidemic in Washington state

SEATTLE (Oct. 7, 2016) – The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) and the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) announced today their support of Gov. Jay Inslee’s executive order aimed at ending the opioid crisis in Washington state.

“The governor’s executive order provides a path forward that brings together state agencies, health provider organizations, law enforcement and other partners in a coordinated and unprecedented effort to combat the opioid crisis in this state,” said Ray C. Hsiao, MD, WSMA immediate past president and a child psychiatrist and addiction specialist at Seattle Children’s.

Earlier this year, the WSMA joined with the WSHA to create the Joint Opioid Safe Practices Task Force, which is focused on improving and implementing safe prescribing practices and pain management as well as opioid abuse prevention and addiction support.

The Joint Opioid Safe Practices Task Force strongly supports the governor’s approach to addressing the opioid crisis and will continue to work closely with the governor’s office, the Department of Health and other partners to end the opioid epidemic in this state.

“The U.S. is in the grips of an opioid epidemic, and people’s lives are at stake,” said Cassie Sauer, WSHA executive vice president. “The Washington State Hospital Association is dedicated to doing our part to prevent and decrease opioid addiction. We have a responsibility to help improve prescribing practices, support patients in pursuing other effective options for pain control, and allow for safe disposal of unused medications.”

The WSMA and WSHA have already taken significant steps to help prevent opioid abuse, including leading statewide efforts to educate physicians on best practices for safe, effective and appropriate prescribing. The ER is for Emergencies program, which started in 2012, implemented several practices related to identifying patients who were struggling with addiction or pain management problems.

Both associations also strongly support the state’s prescription drug monitoring program and encourage physicians and other health care providers to use the program’s database to check a patient’s medical history for red flags that indicate potential for opioid abuse.

“Despite progress in some areas, more must be done to address the complex, multifaceted problem of opioid addiction and overdose,” said Dr. Hsiao, a member of the joint task force. “We stand a far greater chance of reducing opioid abuse by joining forces with others committed to implementing effective solutions.”

Sauer added, “The breadth of the problem demands widespread attention. We are very appreciative that the governor is marshalling the state’s agencies and resources to tackle this problem, and we look forward to working with the governor in being part of the solution.”

About the Washington State Medical Association

The Washington State Medical Association represents physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students throughout Washington state. Its vision is to make Washington the best place to practice medicine and to receive care. For more information on the WSMA, visit www.wsma.org.

About the Washington State Hospital Association

The Washington State Hospital Association works to improve the health of all Washington state residents by being active on key issues of policy and quality. WSHA represents more than 100 hospitals and health systems in the state, including those that are non-profit, investor-owned, and county, state and military hospitals. The Triple Aim guides our members and our work, as we strive to improve the patient experience, improve the health of populations and reduce the cost of health care. Visit www.wsha.org for more information.


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