How pain management doctors are reacting to Florida opioid legislation

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Physician Partners of America Pain Relief Group stresses up-front screenings

On Sept. 26, Florida Gov. Rick Scott called for a series of new proposals to fight the opioid epidemic in Florida, including $50 million in new funding, and limiting prescriptions in most cases. Pain management practices will certainly be impacted.

Physician Partners of America (PPOA) operates 11 pain management clinics in Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Orange, Brevard and Palm Beach counties. As interventional pain management practices, they utilize many different modalities to treat chronic pain, including injections, nerve blocks, topical medications and spinal cord stimulation. PPOA doesn’t just prescribe prescription medication; it identifies the root cause of each patient's pain and its doctors are able to perform minimally invasive procedures to alleviate pain without long-term opiate use.

However, pain medication including opioids remains a useful and humane part of treatment for select patients. These cases are carefully monitored in a variety of ways.

To prevent overdoses, adverse reactions and opioid abuse, all PPOA pain management practices strongly recommend that new patients undergo drug-genes testing (pharmacogenomics) before beginning treatment, as well as submit to urine tests at every office visit. While some patients find these practices intrusive, PPOA has long held the belief that such screenings protect the safety and interests of both patients and physicians. It also follows CDC guidelines for opiate prescriptions.

The proposed Florida opioid legislation reinforces the importance of scrupulous screenings.

It’s important to remember that while opioid abuse and some unscrupulous Florida practitioners, rehabilitation facilities and so-called "sober homes" have made for vivid headlines, not all pain management practices should be painted with the same broad brush. PPOA, for one, fully supports responsible prescribing practices.
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News agencies that would like to get the perspective of an interventional pain management physician about Gov. Scott’s announcement, or that would like to learn more about precautions such as drug-genes testing, PPOA would be pleased to make its founder, Rodolfo Gari, M.D., or Chief Medical Officer, Abraham Rivera, M.D. available for interviews.

About PPOA:
Started in 2013 and headquartered in Tampa, Fla., Physician Partners of America (PPOA), is a national healthcare organization focused on strengthening the doctor-patient relationship and improving patient outcomes. PPOA and its affiliates share a common vision of ensuring the wellbeing of patients and providing their physician partners the opportunity to focus on the practice of medicine. This model allows physicians to be physicians, caring about patients and their needs in the face of ever more complex administrative requirements. For more information about Physician Partners of America, visit http://www.physicianpartnersofamerica.com.

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Marie Hickman
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