Monday, November 13, 2017

Joint Commission Sued For Opioid Crisis.

This couldn't have happened to a nicer group of bureaucrats. The state of West Virginia, which has the highest rate of drug overdoses in the country, is suing The Joint Commission for instigating the opioid epidemic plaguing the nation.

The lawsuit is based on the TJC's recommendations in the early 2000's to aggressively treat a patient's pain symptoms. Since the TJC has the power to shut down a medical facility if it didn't follow their recommendations, their suggestions were essentially blackmailing physicians to do what they wanted. They urged doctors to make sure patients were "free from pain." They pushed the so called "fifth vital sign" which had the consequence of making doctors prescribe narcotics far more frequently than otherwise.

However, few people knew that the TJC's pain recommendations were based on studies that were sponsored by drug companies such as Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, maker of Duragesic.

I'm glad somebody is finally calling out The Joint Commission's power over healthcare with little accountability. I've bemoaned the senseless rules they have imposed on our hospital in the past that have no relationship to any legitimate study on patient safety. If they are going to make up rules that affect the practice of medicine and patient care, they better be able to stand by them in the court of law. Otherwise, the government needs to look into the TJC's monopoly power to hand out hospital accreditations without any official oversight. This is truly an organization that has run amok terrorizing medical facilities with no recourse for the hospitals who may disagree with its demands.

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