HCA Healthcare announced its first national "Crush the Crisis" opioid take back day. On Saturday, September 7, approximately 65 HCA Healthcare facilities will partner with local law enforcement agencies to collect unused and expired prescription medications in 15 states.
Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
As a leading healthcare provider with 38,000 employed and affiliated physicians at its 184 hospitals and approximately 2,000 sites of care in 21 states and the United Kingdom, HCA Healthcare is helping to combat the opioid epidemic by ensuring patients have access to safer, more effective chronic pain treatment, raising awareness about the dangers of opioid addiction and providing proper disposal of these medications.
In addition, HCA Healthcare proudly partners with the National Academy of Medicine's Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, consisting of more than 50 organizations that share best practices and identify gaps in the safe treatment of opioid addiction.
In 2018, HCA Healthcare's TriStar Division, headquartered in Nashville, hosted the first "Crush the Crisis" event. More than 224 pounds of medication, equivalent to over 100,000 doses, were anonymously collected across eight hospitals.
"We were excited about the success of our TriStar Division's take back day last year and knew that with HCA Healthcare's scale, we could make an even greater impact by expanding this program to more of the communities we serve," said Dr. Michael Schlosser, vice president of clinical excellence and surgical services at HCA Healthcare. "Every day, hospitals across the country treat patients for opioid overdose in emergency rooms. Take back events are vital to helping prevent drug overdose, controlling illicit drug use and curbing our nation's opioid crisis."
A learning health system, HCA Healthcare has been using the science of "big data" to reduce opioid misuse and transform pain management, with initiatives in surgical, emergency and other care settings, including:
- Enhanced Surgical Recovery (ESR)/ALTernatives to Opioids in the Emergency Room (ALTO in the ER):HCA Healthcare focuses on a multi-modal approach to acute pain management. This means two or more methods or medications are used to reduce the need for opioids to manage a patient's pain while recovering from surgery or in the emergency room. As of August 2019, ESR is live at 140 HCA Healthcare facilities, with the goal to implement in all facilities, in at least one major service line, by the end of 2019. ALTO protocols will be expanded enterprise-wide by the end of 2019.
- Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS): Physicians have access to aggregated electronic health records that make it more difficult for medication-seekers to doctor-shop or alter prescriptions. ECPS is available across HCA Healthcare.
"We are working to create healthier communities by partnering with our colleagues, patients and neighbors and engaging on important healthcare issues such as this one," said Joanne Pulles, vice president of community engagement at HCA Healthcare and president of The HCA Foundation. "The abuse of prescription drugs too often starts when family or friends obtain medications from home medicine cabinets. We urge people to take three simple steps: clean out your medicine cabinet, collect medications that are no longer needed and safely dispose of them at one of our 'Crush the Crisis' take back locations."
In addition to "Crush the Crisis" events on September 7, more than 20 HCA Healthcare hospitals will host events later this year. In total, approximately 90 HCA Healthcare hospitals will participate. Please for more information on HCA Healthcare's "Crush the Crisis" collection sites.