VA map reveals opioid prescribing rates | KOB 4

VA map reveals opioid prescribing rates

Marian Camacho
January 12, 2018 07:15 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A new effort to fight the nation’s opioid crisis is revealing just how many prescriptions are being drawn up for patients at VA pharmacies across the country.


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released a map detailing prescribing rates over a five-year period from 2012 through 2017 becoming the first health-care system in the country to post such information.

Department officials say the move is a part of the VA’s promise of transparency to veterans and the American people.

“Many Veterans enrolled in the VA health-care system suffer from high rates of chronic pain and the prescribing of opioids may be necessary medically,” Secretary David J. Shulkin said. “And while VA offers other pain-management options to reduce the need for opioids, it is important that we are transparent on how we prescribe opioids, so Veterans and the public can see what we are doing in our facilities and the progress we have made over time.”

The VA says releasing the data will help facilitate the sharing of best practices in pain management and opioid prescribing among doctors and medical center directors.

A few interesting things to note from the map include a 99-percent decrease in facility prescribing rates from 2012 to 2017.

San Juan, Puerto Rico and Cleveland, Ohio were noted with the lowest prescribing rates at just three percent.  El Paso, Texas and Fayetteville, North Carolina were the most improved in the country by decreasing prescribing rates by more than 60 percent over the five year period.

Albuquerque’s Raymond G. Murphy VA Hospital is shown as having gone from 23 to 15 percent prescribing rate.

The VA says the information on the map will be updated semi-annually, on January 15th and July 15th of each year.


Marian Camacho

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