General News

  • March 15, 2019 11:03 AM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) is investigating the restoration of a certification pathway which would provide an opportunity for osteopathic and allopathic physicians to obtain certification in the subspecialty of Addiction Medicine. Physicians who complete an AOA or ABPM approved fellowship in Addiction Medicine or demonstrate their qualifications via clinical pathway requirements, will be eligible to sit for the initial certification examination. 

    The AOA and the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM) respectfully request your participation in this short survey aimed at gauging interest in an Addiction Medicine certification. Your responses will inform the process of establishing a program that will afford certification opportunities in Addiction MedicineThe deadline to participate in the survey is April 7, 2019.

    Please feel free to forward the link to the Addiction Medicine survey to your physician colleagues who practice in this field.

    If you have any questions, contact the AOA at certification@osteopathic.org. Thank you in advance for your input.



  • March 14, 2019 7:29 PM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    PCSS has seen a huge increase in the number of MAT waiver courses in recent months, presenting numerous opportunities to address the opioid crisis. Only six months into the third year of the grant, already 416 waiver trainings have been conducted—slightly more than what was conducted for all of the second year of the grant. 

    With the average training hosting 20 participants, PCSS potentially could train more than 14,000 clinicians this year alone—and this does not include those clinicians who take the course online. More than 12,800 clinicians have taken PCSS’s online course since May 2017, when PCSS began offering online courses. When the grant was first funded, the number of trainings per year was projected to be 94 [ Read more ]

    Read More PCSS News

  • February 28, 2019 3:28 PM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    We present good news regarding the status of an osteopathic Addiction Medicine CAQ.                                                                          

    As you recall, Dr. Margaret Kotz (AOAAM delegate), Dr. Stephen Wyatt (AOAAM alternate) and Nina Vidmer attended the AOA House of Delegates (HOD) meetings in Chicago July 16-22, 2018.  AOAAM submitted Resolution H215, which would allow for DOs who completed AOA-approved fellowships in Addiction Medicine to take the Addiction Medicine CAQ exam, and also to create a pathway for all qualified DOs to sit for the exam and become certified. Resolution H-215 was ultimately forwarded to the Finance Committee.

    AOAAM leadership has been working with the AOA since the 2018 HOD July 2018 to move this matter forward.  This week Dr. Julie Kmiec, AOAAM president; Dr. Margaret Kotz, past president; and Nina Vidmer, executive director attended the AOA Mid-Year Meeting for a status update. Today the AOA Board of Trustees voted on the resolution that:

    RESOLVED, that AOA allow DOs who have completed an AOA-approved fellowship in Addiction Medicine to take the CAQ exam in Addiction Medicine; and, be it further

    RESOLVED, that AOA reopen a practice pathway for a period of time to be determined, and in discussion with AOAAM; and, be it further

    RESOLVED, that AOA approach AOAAM for an investment towards shared financial responsibility for the reopening of the Addiction Medicine CAQ that could be paid back over a period of time assuming we have candidates that will take advantage of this exam; and, be it further

    RESOLVED, that AOA set a price point that is comparable to ABPM, and determine the ROI.

    The AOA Finance Committee will meet on April 24, 2019 to make their final recommendations, which will be based on the fiscal impact of creating this pathway and exam.

    The AOA/AOAAM will be sending out a survey to determine the level of interest in taking the exam – watch for this and please participate!  Updates will follow as more news becomes available.

    Best regards,

    Julie Kmiec, DO
    AOAAM President

    Download a copy of the resolution.


  • February 05, 2019 11:36 AM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    Medical school loan repayment program (LRP) with a February 21 application deadline.  

    If you have a primary care or psychiatry specialty and are working part-time or full-time in addiction medicine, you could qualify for up to $75,000 in medical school loan repayment. 

    This program in being offered by HRSA through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) in support of physicians who are or will be working to support patients with opioid use disorder, as well as other substance use disorders. Venues of service include not only clinics and other sites, yet also private practices. Due to the targeted scope of this program, applicants may qualify for LRP awards even if they are working at sites with Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) scores that would ordinarily be too low to qualify for NHSC LRP funding.  

    If you are interested, additional information and an application can be found here:  

    https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loan-repayment/nhsc-sud-workforce-loan-repayment-program.html

    (Please be advised that HRSA advises that applicants allow a few weeks to complete this application.  Thus, if you are interested, consider applying now.) 


  • February 05, 2019 11:32 AM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON –The Justice Department today reached a settlement agreement with Selma Medical Associates Inc. (Selma Medical), a privately owned medical facility located in Winchester, Virginia, that provides primary and specialty care to patients.

    The settlement agreement resolves a complaint under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that Selma Medical refused to accept a prospective new patient for an appointment because he takes Suboxone, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder. The Justice Department’s investigation concluded that Selma Medical regularly turned away prospective new patients who lawfully take controlled substances to treat their medical conditions.

    Under the agreement, Selma Medical will not deny services on the basis of disability, including opioid use disorder, or apply standards or criteria that screen out individuals with disabilities. The agreement also requires Selma Medical to adopt non-discrimination policies, train staff on its non-discrimination obligations, and report on compliance. Selma Medical will also pay $30,000 in damages to the complainant and a $10,000 civil penalty to the United States.

    “This agreement ensures that people in recovery from an opioid use disorder do not face discriminatory barriers to health care services,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “Unlawfully denying services to individuals with disabilities because of their medical conditions subjects these individuals to unwarranted stigma and harm, and will not be tolerated by the Department of Justice.”

    People interested in finding out more about the ADA or this settlement agreement can call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access the ADA website at http://www.ada.gov.


  • February 04, 2019 11:30 AM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    On January 31, 2019,  Jim Carroll, the newly sworn-in Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), released the Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy, which establishes the President’s priorities for addressing the challenge of drug trafficking and use.

    To read the report, use this link: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/NDCS-Final.pdf

  • December 20, 2018 3:49 PM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    Program Offers Free Help With Prevention, Treatment, Recovery

    December 19, 2018 02:51 pm Chris Crawford – The State Targeted Response Technical Assistance (STR-TA) Consortium is now ready to assist family physicians with addressing chronic pain, opioid use disorders (OUDs) and delivery of medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded a two-year grant to the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) to bring together a coalition of 22 health care organizations, including the AAFP, to collaborate with individuals (including family physicians), communities, states and territories to address the OUD crisis in the United States.

    The coalition has fielded technical assistance teams composed of treatment, prevention and recovery consultants covering each state and territory. The Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC), a core partner of the STR-TA Consortium, has identified a technology transfer specialist for each state and territory, as well. The ATTC is working closely with the single state agency/STR grantees and individuals to help identify and provide oversight for technical assistance requests and manage each state's or territory's team.

    After the program officially launched on May 2, Kathryn Cates-Wessel, CEO of the AAAP, told AAFP News that this resource is not only for states with STR grants, "but also for individuals, clinical practices, community groups, and prevention and recovery programs looking for help in learning more about how to address the opioid crisis in their community with local resources and expertise."

    Response So Far

    Since its launch, the STR-TA program has had more than 400 requests, according to Jane Goodger, manager of outreach and communications for the AAAP.

    Story Highlights

    §  The State Targeted Response Technical Assistance (STR-TA) Consortium is now ready to assist family physicians with addressing chronic pain, opioid use disorders (OUDs) and delivery of medication-assisted treatment.

    §  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded a two-year grant to the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) to bring together a coalition of 22 health care organizations, including the AAFP, to collaborate with individuals, communities, states and territories to address the nation's OUD crisis.

    §  Since launching in May, the STR-TA program has had more than 400 requests for assistance, said Jane Goodger, manager of outreach and communications for the AAAP.

     
    "It's been pretty amazing, considering we haven't marketed the initiative that much so far," Goodger told AAFP News. "Every time I tell somebody about this initiative, they're amazed at the types of things that we've been doing."

    Goodger said submitted requests have varied greatly and include many people wanting training and others who seek to start projects such as developing opioid prevention curriculum for middle and high schools.

    Specific examples of submitted requests include one from a businessman and father of a woman in recovery in Kansas City, Mo., who sought input on creating a recovery-focused high school.

    "We also had a grandmother who wanted to offer a support system for other grandparents who suddenly find themselves caring for children of parents affected by the opioid crisis," Goodger said.

    "We have had an incredible variety of requests that cover treatment to recovery to prevention," she added.

    As for feedback from requestors, Goodger said: "They have been thrilled with this program and it's almost too good to be true to them because a lot of these people are lost -- they don't know how to solve their problems. When they come to the STR-TA, they are always happy that somebody is listening and working to help them get to wherever they need to be."

    Goodger said the STR-TA program can help address almost any opioid-related issue that a family physician needs to tackle, including dealing with Medicaid and second-party payers. The program also is flexible in that it can bring a consultant in from another state if they best fit the needs of a particular request.

    "We can provide treatment models for their clinics or training for their staff," she said. "Almost anything they can dream up having to do with treating opioid use disorder, preventing it and recovery, we can gather the resources to help."

    Participating Family Physician's Thoughts

    As a member of the STR-TA Consortium, the AAFP recruited family physicians to participate in the STR-TA program who had expertise and/or experience in OUDs and use of medications to treat them or who were interested in obtaining a waiver to prescribe medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

    Darlene Petersen, M.D., of Roy, Utah, is one such family physician who was assigned to an STR-TA team that serves her home state.

    Petersen has been board-certified in addiction medicine for five years and has been treating patients with OUDs using MAT in an outpatient setting for the past 11 years.

    "I treat patients every day affected by opioid misuse who are in various stages of recovery," she said.

    Petersen said she decided to join the STR-TA program to assist colleagues and others because Utah has consistently ranked in the top 10 states with the highest incidence of opioid misuse and she wanted to help combat the issue.

    "We are here to provide assistance, from initiating treatment to (working with) special populations (i.e., pregnant women, teens, those with a dual diagnosis)," she said. "Depending on the request, the goal is to match you with a person who has the most expertise in the area that you have a question on."

    Petersen said the STR-TA program is valuable to all family physicians, including solo clinicians such as herself, as a free resource that can be used as a "curbside consult" on specific patients or for training on providing MAT and the inevitable challenges and questions related to that, including about patient intakes, workflow, drug testing and instituting medication counts.

    "As family physicians, we are in a unique position to identify patients with opioid dependence and provide treatment to them in a setting where they are already engaged in care," she said.

    Submitting a Request

    Family physicians interested in requesting assistance from the STR-TA program can visit the initiative's website and submit a request online.(getstr-ta.org)

    "Within one business day, someone will schedule a call with the person to find out more about their request," Goodger said. "It's simple and easy to use, and importantly, it's free, no matter what the request. We might not be able to build a website for someone, but we can help find someone to help build a website for them.

    "We've had plenty of requests, but we always have room for more."

  • December 16, 2018 5:12 PM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    By Charles Toutant
    December 4, 2018
    New Jersey Law Journal

    A federal judge in Camden has granted final approval to an $84 million settlement of an antitrust class action against the American Osteopathic Association.

    The suit targeted a policy requiring physicians who seek board certification in osteopathy to buy membership in the association at an annual rate of $683. The settlement calls for the AOA to end the disputed policy coupling board certification with membership in the association, and to reduce the membership fee by $90, to$593.

    The settlement also calls for the AOA to waive an annual $90 certification fee for three years;allow members to take two free continuing medical education courses for free annually through December 2021; and spend $4 million between 2019 and 2021 on a brand awareness campaign for osteopathic physicians. The costs of the settlement terms over three years comes to $84.2 million.

    The association has roughly 48,000 members practicing osteopathy, 32,000 of whom are AOA-board certified.The value of the settlement was calculated based on an assumption that AOA membership will decline 3 percent as a result of the elimination of the challenged rule.

    The judge also approved counsel fees of $2.62 million, which is slightly less than the lodestar amount of $2.65 million. The lodestar is based on a blended rate of$601 and 4,418 hours spent investigating and litigating the case. The judge also approved service awards of $15,000 each to the four class representatives.

    U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman of the District of New Jersey granted final approval to the settlement after rejecting a claim by the attorneys general of Arizona, Idaho,Louisiana, Rhode Island and Texas that the settlement is structured in a manner that conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court’s guidance in a 2011 case, Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes. 

    The five states’attorneys general argued in an amicus curiae brief that individualized damages claims could not be certified under R. 23(b)(2) because class members may not opt out of such a settlement. The attorneys general argue that the settlement raises due process violations because under R. 23(b)(2), class members cannot opt out of the settlement and pursue individual claims for monetary damage.

    But Hillman said he did not find the objections of the attorneys general compelling. The class notice clearly stated that damage claims in the suit would be extinguished in the settlement, and none of the notice recipients objected, he said. In addition, the present case did not raise concerns of collusion between named plaintiffs, class counsel and defense attorneys to resolve the case in a manner that addressed only their interests. ...

    The AOA’s board of trustees approved the settlement and its House of Delegates agreed to the dues decrease, Hillman said.

    “Thus, the AOA’s governing body, filling essentially the same shoes as the states’ attorneys’general under 28 U.S.C. 1715, agreed that the settlement was fair to itself as an organization as well as to its individual members. This is a classic case of institutional reform, for which Rule 23(b)(2) is the precise vehicle,” Hillman said.

    Hillman noted with frustration that the efforts of the attorneys general were “seriously misguided and myopic; their ardor and zeal badly misplaced.”

    The settlement reflects, “as Rule 23(b)(2) must, the concrete over the ephemeral, the real over the hypothetical, and the tangible over unfounded fears,” Hillman said.Still, amici continued “in their quixotic quest to vindicate a principle that is not offended, on behalf of their citizens who have not complained,” he said.

    “And in doing so, they have succeeded in delaying approval of the settlement, have frustrated its orderly administration and ultimately sought to scuttle an agreement that promised real, tangible and substantial benefit to literally thousands of their own citizens in each of their respective states,” Hillman said.

    Arizona Assistant Attorney General Drew Ensign represented the amici. A spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General’s office, Katie Conner, said in a statement, “We believe we flagged significant problems in the brief we filed on behalf of bipartisan attorneys general and we’re disappointed with the outcome. To date, we’ve led more than a dozen class action fairness challenges, many of them bipartisan. We’ve always put consumers first and we will continue to fight on their behalf.”


  • December 14, 2018 12:07 PM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    NOTICE:   A Message from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 

    Licensees:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing information on: 1) the current status of a multistate outbreak of coagulopathy from exposure to synthetic cannabinoid products containing a vitamin K-epoxide cycle antagonist, brodifacoum; 2) the emergence of 2 new clinical scenarios; and 3) recommendations to help clinicians make decisions related to these 2 new clinical scenarios.

    This is an update to the Health Alert Network (HAN) advisory released on May 25, 2018 titled Outbreak of Life-threatening Coagulopathy Associated with Synthetic Cannabinoids Use (https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00410.asp).

    Outbreak Update

    Since the index patient with hypocoagulopathy associated with synthetic cannabinoids use was identified on March 8, 2018 in Illinois, at least 324 people have presented to healthcare facilities with serious bleeding from possible exposure. The largest number of patients were in Illinois (164), followed by Wisconsin (86), Maryland (44), Florida (6), Pennsylvania (6), Missouri (5), North Carolina (5), Indiana (5), Kentucky (1), Virginia (1), and West Virginia (1). Laboratory investigation confirmed brodifacoum exposure in at least 150 patients. There have been at least eight (8) fatalities. Vitamin K1 continues to be the recommended therapy. Since the original HAN advisory on May 25, 2018, two (2) new clinical scenarios have emerged:

    1. Several patients have outpatient follow-up blood brodifacoum concentrations that are higher than their initial blood brodifacoum concentrations.
    2. At least one patient has become pregnant since starting outpatient oral Vitamin K1 treatment.

    When patients are found to have outpatient follow-up blood brodifacoum concentrations higher than their initial blood brodifacoum concentrations, it strongly suggests that they have continued or resumed using synthetic cannabinoid products containing brodifacoum while on oral vitamin K1 therapy. The consequences of re-exposure to brodifacoum include:

    1. Risk of life-threatening hemorrhage,
    2. Oral vitamin K1 dosing may need to be increased, and
    3. Oral vitamin K1 treatment duration may need to be extended.

    Pregnancies in patients who are on oral vitamin K1 treatment for brodifacoum toxicity are high-risk pregnancies. Brodifacoum crosses the placenta. Both mother and fetus are at risk for serious bleeding. Brodifacoum may also be a teratogen because its chemical structure is similar to warfarin, a known teratogen.

    Recommendations for Clinicians

    1. Maintain a high index of suspicion for continued or resumed use of synthetic cannabinoid products containing brodifacoum in patients who are on oral vitamin K1 therapy. Ask these patients about continued or resumed use of synthetic cannabinoid products.
    2. Counsel against resuming or continuing use of synthetic cannabinoid products. Refer patients to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) national helpline, 1-800-662-HELP(4357), a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service in English and Spanish for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders; substance abuse counseling is also available.
    3. Advise patients that their current oral vitamin K1 dosing may not prevent recurrent coagulopathy from re-exposure to brodifacoum in synthetic cannabinoid products and the duration of oral vitamin K1 treatment may need to be extended.
    4. Consider periodic quantitative testing of patients’ blood for brodifacoum during outpatient follow-up visits to inform if patients continued or resumed use of synthetic cannabinoid products containing brodifacoum. In addition, serial blood brodifacoum concentrations allow for calculation of blood brodifacoum half-life and assist in determining duration of oral vitamin K1 therapy.
    5. Ask all women of childbearing age who are on oral vitamin K1 therapy about the possibility of being pregnant and counsel them about reliable contraceptive techniques. A periodic pregnancy test should be performed on all women of childbearing age who are on oral vitamin K1 therapy. Pregnant patients on oral vitamin K1 should be referred for high-risk pregnancy management and follow-up.
    6. Contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) for questions on diagnostic testing and management of these patients.
    7. Promptly report possible cases to your local or state health department.

    Recommendations for the Public

    1. CDC recommends that people do not use synthetic cannabinoid products. Synthetic cannabinoid products are always dangerous because it is impossible for people to know what chemicals are in the product, how much they are being exposed to, and how their body will react to the chemicals. The synthetic cannabinoid products associated with this outbreak are especially dangerous because they contain brodifacoum, a chemical used as rat poison that can cause uncontrolled bleeding.
    2. People who have used synthetic cannabinoid products in the past three months and are concerned about their health should contact their healthcare provider. Synthetic cannabinoid products users who develop any unusual bruising or bleeding should immediately seek medical attention.
    3. People who are currently on oral vitamin K1 treatment for brodifacoum poisoning should not use synthetic cannabinoid products, as this can cause new or worsening bleeding and may prolong the course of vitamin K1 treatment. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) national helpline, 1-800-662-HELP(4357), is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service in English and Spanish for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
    4. Women who are currently on oral vitamin K1 treatment for brodifacoum poisoning should use an effective contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy while being treated. .

    For More Information

    1. CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity: Outbreak Alert Update: Potential Life-Threatening Vitamin K-Dependent Antagonist Coagulopathy Associated With Synthetic Cannabinoids Use. https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USCDC/bulletins/21e1a0fExternal
    2. Synthetic cannabinoids: What are they? What are their effects? https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hsb/chemicals/sc/default.html

     

    Synthetic cannabinoids: An Overview for Healthcare Providers: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hsb/chemicals/sc/healthcare.html

The mission of the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine is to improve the health of individuals and families burdened with the disease of addiction.

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