Combating the Opioid Crisis A

s the country grapples with a tragic opioid epidemic, the government and ASCA are working to support a comprehensive solution to address the abuse and misuse of pain-killers. According to the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016, more than any previous year on record. An estimated 40 percent of opioid over- dose deaths involved a prescription opioid. To counter the crisis, in October 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Com- munities Act (H.R. 6). A key provision in the act directs HHS to review and adjust payments under the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Payment System to “avoid financial incen- tives to use opioids instead of non-opioid alternative treatments.” Many ASCs already are using non-opioid pain management techniques. In

addition, ASCA encourages ASC clinicians to participate in ongoing training on best practices in pain management as well as effective education of patients and caregivers. Visit ASCA’s resource page,, and HHS’ resource page to learn more. ASCA 2019 Conference & Expo, May 15–18, in Nashville, Tennessee, will offer

three sessions solely focused on opioids. Stanford R. Plavin, MD, will present “Pain Control Without Opioids” (see page 8 for more on this) on Thursday, May 16; Robin M. Wilson, an attorney, will discuss “Multi-District Litigation and the Battle Against Opioid Abuse” also on Thursday; and Rachel Uzlik and Gary Wyard, MD, will pres- ent “A Community Approach to Combating the Opioid Crisis” on Friday, May 17. In addition to the special opioid sessions, ASCA 2019 will offer more than 50

other educational sessions, including 16 advanced sessions and two full days of infection prevention education. Visit for the full schedule. The exhibit hall will feature many new technologies and innovative products and services. As in past years, the conference will offer net- working opportunities and all the regulatory, accreditation and practice updates ASC managers trust ASCA’s annual conferences to provide. During the opening session on Wednesday evening, Alex Sheen, founder of the international social movement because I said I would, will share an inspiring message about the power of promises in changing lives. The exhibit hall will open immediately afterward. On Thursday, Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater Scott Hamilton will talk about how to reject average and go for the win. Visit the ASCA 2019 exhibit hall to win a Caribbean cruise, a Coach purse or an

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iPad mini. Listen to live music and enjoy a little fun and games in ASCA’s Back- yard, where you will find bocce ball, cornhole, ring toss and other favorite backyard games. On Friday night, ASCA will host a private party on Honky Tonk Highway in downtown Nashville with live music, authentic southern cuisine and line dancing. Sign up by February 28 to save $50 on your registration. ASCA members receive an additional discount on each registration and can save even more by registering multiple attendees at the same time. Visit Come to ASCA 2019 to learn how your ASC can help battle the national opioid crisis. Look for more information on the annual conference in the March issue.

Bill Prentice Chief Executive Officer


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