Chattanooga Law Firm in Step With Governor Haslam’s Public Safety Action Plan
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Jan. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Chattanooga attorneys David J. Ward and Alix C. Michel have been working together for the last several years to counsel medical professionals, such as physicians, nurses, physicians assistants, pharmacists and other health care providers, on ways to prevent prescription drug abuse and decrease doctor shopping among patients. Ward and Michel, attorneys at Chattanooga-based law firm Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C., have been advising medical professionals across the country on documenting all patient activity as thoroughly as possible, and cross-referencing their patients’ prescription drug history using data in Prescription Monitoring Programs (PMPs). Last week, Governor Haslam announced his support for mandatory PMP checks in his Public Safety Action Plan.
“Information was just released by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee that shows patients in Tennessee receive more prescriptions per capita than in any other state in the nation — that shows that prescription drug abuse is a huge problem here. We are fully embracing Governor Haslam’s plan and legislation for mandatory checks of PMPs,” said Ward. “We are working with medical professionals to encourage them to take drug prescribing seriously, individually tailor prescriptions to each patient, and monitor each patient for signs of drug addiction or abuses. In 2008 alone, there were 20,044 overdose deaths from prescription drugs in the U.S.”
Tennessee is one of 37 states to have an operational Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), which is a tool created by the state to help monitor physician’s prescribing patterns, and help identify prescription drug abuse, addiction and diversion. However, the program is currently not mandatory and not enough physicians are actively using this tool.
“The PMP tool is very important given the huge problem our culture has with prescription drug abuse,” said Michel. “Drug-induced deaths have recently surpassed auto accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in our country; the problem is not going away. We hope our programs will make a difference in prescription drug abuse and maybe even save lives.”
Ward and Michel have been presenting their tools for prescription drug abuse prevention in seminars across the Southeast. The most important prevention methods they suggest for doctors include the following:
- ID their patients and photocopy the ID
- Make sure they document the patient’s complaints, run appropriate tests and document the rationale for the use of opiod pain medication
- Consult the PMPs on a daily basis
- Counsel those patients they prescribe opiods about addiction
- Attempt to wean long-term users of opiods
- Educate their staff regarding the signs of doctor shopping
- Get to know their local law enforcement officers
- Have a good working relationship with the local pharmacists
Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C. serves as counsel for regional, national, and international businesses, financial institutions, local governments and non-profit organizations. The firm’s major practice areas include health care, banking and finance law, real estate, corporate law, automotive law, non-profit law, labor and employment, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, environmental law, consumer finance , taxation and all aspects of litigation.
SOURCE Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C.