Prescription Opioid Management Advisory Task Force - Phase I


The MMA convened a physician-only task force from November 2012 – May 2014 to study the issue of prescription opioid addiction, abuse and diversion in Minnesota.  Information about the 19-member task force, their objectives, and their accomplishments can be found below. 

Sample of Activities Achieved To Advance Task Force Charge
  • Published a dedicated issue of Minnesota Medicine on the Opioid Crisis (March 2013);
  • Established a prescription opioid webpage on MMA website.
  • Convened three member forums, “The Role of Physicians in Prescription Opioid Abuse, Addiction and Diversion: A Candid Conversation.”
  • Partnered with ICSI (Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement) in developing an Acute Pain Assessment and Opioid Prescribing Protocol.
  • Secured national grant to deliver free CME program (live and enduring) on extended release and long-acting opioids (consistent with the FDA Risk Education and Mitigation Strategy [REMS]); content also included pain management and opioid dependency management.
  • Special opioid update publication distributed with Minnesota Medicine (September 2014)
  • Recommended policy to MMA Board of Trustees to support legislative initiatives (and subsequently worked to support legislative passage) as follows:
    • Changes to Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program
    • Naloxone/Good Samaritan Law
  • Sponsored a resolution at 2013 MMA Annual Meeting regarding advancing efforts to ease physicians’ use of the Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program as part of physician electronic health record workflow processes.
  • Worked in partnership with local experts, the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation, and the University of Minnesota Medical School, to produce accredited video educational modules – Pain, Opioid and Addiction Lecture Series
The purpose of the MMA Prescription Opioid Management Advisory Task Force is as follows:
  1. to raise awareness among Minnesota physicians about the nature and extent of the problems associated with prescription opioid addiction, abuse, and diversion;
  2. to examine specific strategies for improving physician management of opioid prescribing (e.g., education, use of Minnesota Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, controlled substance contracts, etc.);
  3. to identify and disseminate to physicians resources and tools for opioid prescribing best practices; and
  4. to facilitate MMA participation in multidisciplinary, community-wide conversations/coalitions aimed at addressing prescription opioid addiction, abuse, and diversion.

Advisory Task Force Members
  • Alfred Anderson, M.D. (Pain Medicine)
  • Richard Andrews, M.D. (Family Medicine)
  • Beth Averbeck, M.D. (Internal Medicine)
  • Beth Baker, M.D. (Occupational Medicine)
  • Paul Biewen, M.D. (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation)
  • Elisabeth Bilden, M.D., (Emergency Medicine/Toxicology)
  • William Dicks, M.D. (Family Medicine/Pain Medicine)
  • Mark Eggen, M.D. (Anesthesia)
  • Howard Epstein, M.D. (Chief Health Systems Officer, Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement)
  • Tom Flynn, M.D. (Oncology)
  • Donald Grossbach, M.D. (Hospice and Palliative Medicine)
  • Christopher Johnson, M.D. (Emergency Medicine)
  • Zach Lopater, M.D. (Resident)
  • David Schultz, M.D. (Anesthesia/Pain Medicine)
  • Yael Smiley (Student)
  • Keith Stelter, M.D. (Family Medicine)
  • Lindsey Thomas, M.D. (Forensic Pathology)
  • Joseph Westermeyer, M.D. (Addiction/Substance Abuse)
  • Drew Zinkel, M.D. (Emergency Medicine)

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