Health Care Heros Award
May 16, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Jaclyn Solick, Director, Marketing
and Business Communications, Populytics & Lehigh Valley Physician Hospital Organization, Inc., d.b.a. Valley Preferred
Lori McFerran, Editorial Coordinator, Populytics & Lehigh Valley Physician Hospital Organization, Inc., d.b.a. Valley Preferred
VALLEY PREFERRED ASSOCIATE MEDICAL DIRECTOR KEVIN McNEILL, MD, RECEIVES 2019 HEALTHCARE HEROES AWARD FOR WORK IN OPIOID STEWARDSHIP
ALLENTOWN, PA, May 15, 2019 – Valley Preferred, a leading Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) affiliated with Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), is proud to announce that Associate Medical Director Kevin McNeill, MD, was selected as a winner in the 2019 Healthcare Heroes Award program, sponsored by Lehigh Valley Business. The award honors individuals who are making a significant impact on health care in the Greater Lehigh Valley through medical expertise, innovative approaches, management skills, community outreach, and patient care.
Dr. McNeill has spearheaded efforts across the region to educate providers and prioritize methods that mitigate the epidemic of opioid abuse in our Lehigh Valley and neighboring populations. Primary care physicians (PCPs) are on the front lines of the opioid epidemic and often manage chronic pain. Dr. McNeill and colleague Gillian Beauchamp, MD, initiated a stewardship committee in 2017 with the mission of “safe and effective use of opioids for chronic pain across the LVHN enterprise.” Committee members disseminate education to health care providers, take part in community outreach, and monitor progress among providers as they implement protocols and workflows on chronic pain throughout LVHN.
Working directly with fellow PCPs, Dr. McNeill provides resources to facilitate appropriate opioid prescribing. He reinforces the protocol that involves comprehensive assessment, risk mitigation, and treatment specific to each patient’s individual needs. Dr. McNeill also leads a quarterly Pain Management Collaborative that gives family and internal medicine physicians a forum where they can have cases reviewed by pain management physician colleagues, behavioral health providers, and substance use disorder specialists. The group confers on possible solutions, and the originating physician benefits from a multidisciplinary perspective.
The work of the stewardship committee has progressed to include development of a dashboard to follow metrics on opioid prescribing, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. For providers, it offers an evidence-based road map with questions such as: Are you assessing risk? Has a controlled substance agreement been signed? Are you performing regular urine drug screens and/or oral fluid testing? Tracking data on opioid prescribing and sharing via the use of a dashboard allows providers to gauge progress. Targeted outreach to 10 family medicine offices contributed to these results:
- Opioid prescriptions fell by approximately 25%
- Co-prescribing with benzodiazepines and/or muscle relaxants decreased
- Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) utilization rose by over 80%
- The average morphine equivalent daily dose (MEDD) has remained below 50
Healthcare Hero award winners will be featured in a special section in Lehigh Valley Business on June 25, 2019.
Synthetic opioids are currently the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 67.8 percent of all overdose deaths in 2017, and the states with the highest rates of death were West Virginia (57.8 per 100,000), Ohio (46.3 per 100,000), and Pennsylvania (44.3 per 100,000).
ABOUT VALLEY PREFERRED
Valley Preferred is a preferred provider organization formed in 1993 by Lehigh Valley Health Network and the Greater Lehigh Valley Independent Practice Association, Inc. Valley Preferred is dedicated to Achieving Clinical Excellence® through the development and implementation of innovative programs to improve health care delivery and value in the community. Valley Preferred is dedicated to the goals of the Quadruple Aim: improving health care quality, affordability and effectiveness, while also prioritizing the well-being of clinicians. For more information, visit valleypreferred.com