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Statewide Network Helps VCHS Address National Opioid Crisis Locally

Valley County Health System (VCHS) is doing its part locally to help combat the national opioid crisis of addition, abuse and overdose deaths. In July, VCHS joined the Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NeHII) – a secure, statewide and web-based health information exchange – which includes the Nebraska Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) database, and since January 2017, information about all of a patient's dispensed controlled substances is required to be submitted to the PDMP daily. As a participating member of NeHII, VCHS providers have access to the database. 

The database is designed to improve patient safety by giving providers a comprehensive view of a patient's controlled substance prescription use and history; helping providers safely and effectively treat pain; enhancing continuity of care across a practice settings; offering a tool to monitor compliance; ensuring patients who are treated for legitimate pain have access to critical medications; and allowing for early intervention if abuse of diversion is suspected. 

Opioids are pain-reducing drugs that switch off pain receptors in the brain, and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), they are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S. Statistically, 91 people in the U.S. die each day from opioid misuse, and overdoses are the primary reason for the nearly two-decade increase in opioid overdosee deaths in the U.S. 

For more information about NeHII, contact VCHS Chief Quality Officer Christina Pollard at 308.728.4321.

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Pictured: VCHS Emergency Medicine and Urgent Care Provider Johanna Spencer, APRN-NP, FNP-BC