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TCEP and the Opioid Crisis
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by Robert Hancock, DO, FACEP

The number of deaths from prescription opiates has reached the point where this is now considered a public health crisis. As a result, multiple organizations are working to develop policies to address this crisis. This will obviously impact all TCEP members and the patients for which we provide care; it is crucial that TCEP be involved in these discussions.

I was recently elected to represent TCEP on the board of the Texas Alliance For Patient Access (TAPA). This organization has representatives from physician groups, hospital systems, and other stakeholders in our healthcare system. The opiate crisis was extensively discussed at the TAPA annual meeting, and there is consensus that we must all work together to address this issue. All stakeholders agree that we must be careful to ensure that opiate medications remain available to those patients that truly need them.

Recently, the Texas Hospital Association held a meeting to discuss prescribing of opiates in the emergency department. I have discussed this meeting with representatives from the THA, and I have been assured that they plan to reach out to TCEP for input prior to releasing any new guidelines. I will continue to monitor this situation, and I will make sure that the best interest of TCEP members and our patients is represented.

Your TCEP leaders constantly monitor for any issues which arise that may affect our members. We then work to reach a consensus and respond appropriately to these issues. Currently, these issues include opiate prescribing, balance billing, tort reform protection, and MOC revision. We are here to represent you, and I encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns related to emergency medicine in Texas.

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