Florida’s House Health and Human Services Committee unanimously passed the CS/CS/HB 21: Controlled Substances Bill. The bill focused on combating the state’s opioid epidemic – and it starts with us, the physicians.
The Ramos Center has actively lobbied over a decade to fight against this opioid epidemic, alongside local and state law enforcement, government and non-profit organizations, and is already operating under the regulations that the state bill will put in to place – and has been for decades.
As you have heard from me in the past, I am proud of the fact that the Ramos Center is one of the largest and most effective Pain Medicine practices within the state of Florida over the past 19 years. We have the best overall patient outcomes, with a “last resort” mentality for opioid initiation, allowing us to report an industry-low number of patients who are prescribed opioids. In fact, it’s merely a fraction of the total – 1,800 out of 10,000+ (18%). Additionally, 96% of our patients are insured – this contrasts opioid-only clinics which have a cash-based model; only 1% are under 30 years old; 71% are older than 50 years old; 82% of our patients are treated with non-opioid alternatives, such as a comprehensive range of cutting edge technology, interventional modalities, physical therapy and behavioral management; 100% of all new patients are carefully screened via physician review, a mental health evaluation, an analysis of PDMP (FL Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (E-FORCSE), and a bi-annual drug testing.
Because we hold ourselves to higher standards of patient responsibility, we have earned a spot as one of the most referred to practices in the state. This humbles and motivates us to continue our responsible approach to chronic pain patients, as well as being committed to the same level of responsibility to our community. When prescribing opioids, we take the necessary measures to limit the frequency and dosage for patient safety by focusing on interventional procedures.
By firmly believing in patient and physician education and exhibiting responsible prescribing – the Ramos Center has grown to be one of the highest regarded, reliable, and trusted sources in the community in terms of treating and managing chronic pain. Due to the sheer volume of recurring chronic patients that we manage, even with our low 18% prescription rate, a large volume of paper prescriptions is administered with the strictest standards and compliance. Patients, community and prescriptions are safer when their needs are processed by us.
With this, I am happy to share an update from Manatee County Sheriff Wells that in the last 6 months of 2017, there was a 75% decrease in overdoses and deaths, and an 85% decrease thus far in 2018. I’m hopeful that we, healthcare providers, will be more educated and equipped to responsibly treat our patients, and ensure a healthier, happier future for all involved.
When the NEW Florida Bill on Opioids (HB 21) is enacted on July 1st, 2018, the Ramos Center will remain your primary source of knowledge regarding current and best practice models in opioid management. I personally commit to organizing and executing local seminars to help educate the physician population, as well as the residents within our community about the new legislation.
I am thankful to the network of physicians who support and refer to our practice, and I truly believe that together, we are one step closer to emerging from the decades of opioid abuse. Our growth is a direct result of your referrals, and for that our team is extremely grateful. As always, I encourage you to reach out to us at any time with further questions or concerns you may have regarding our specialty, practice, shared and future patients. We look forward to continuing our professional relationship with you and serving your patients who suffer from chronic pain.