Trending News Today: Improved Counseling May Reduce Abuse of Opioid Painkillers

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

A recent study showed that approximately 1 in 5 patients prescribed addictive pain drugs have shared their medication with friends or family members, possibly contributing to the opioid epidemic. According to Kaiser Health News, about 50% of patients did not know how to get rid of extra drugs or how to store them during treatment. Study authors suggest that prescribers need to counsel patients on how to safely store and get rid of extra medications that have the potential to be abused.

Due to increases in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have created a proposal for US hospitals to stop the overuse of antibiotics, otherwise the hospitals will be removed from the Medicare system. According to The Wall Street Journal, the infection-control rules these hospitals must follow have not been updated since the original mandatory rules were implemented in 1986. Public health experts and other advocates for this rule believe that it could keep current antibiotics from eventually becoming ineffective.

A healthcare cooperative in Maryland called Evergreen filed a lawsuit that claims the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services forced the company to give $22 million to CareFirst under the “risk adjustment” program from the Affordable Care Act. This program makes insurers with healthier patients pay fees to insurers with sicker patients, according to The Washington Post. The company believes that they are being unfairly charged due to the method used to calculate risk, since many patients do not sign up until later in the year and do not visit a doctor before the period to determine health status ends.