Let’s Talk: Solving Today’s Leading Healthcare Epidemics – Opioids, Antibiotics, and Readmissions


Tackling the Opioid Crisis panel
Tackling the Opioid Crisis panel


On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, Qlarant, along with Premier, DC Hospital Association, The District of Columbia Department of Health, and the Medical Society of DC co-hosted a day-long Learning and Action Network meeting entitled Let’s Talk: Solving Today’s Leading Healthcare Epidemics – Opioids, Antibiotics, and Readmissions. The event, held at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum, Maryland, brought together subject matter experts and nationally known authorities to present new research, hold speaker moderated sessions, and to hear directly from an opiate addict about her battle with addiction.

The District of Columbia, along with dozens of other communities around the country, are experiencing several medication use epidemics at crisis levels. These issues contribute to over utilization of healthcare resources, cost of care, and poor patient outcomes. The goal of the “Let’s Talk” conference was to engage the Washington, D.C. community of care providers in conversations about the overuse of opioids, antibiotics, and their impact on readmissions as well as to identify several solutions to collectively implement.

The program began with the patient voice, a recovering opiate addict speaking about her addiction and finding help through her physicians and care assistants in the Medical Home Development Group. Dr. Edwin Chapman, MD, a physician at MHDG, followed the patient story by providing the attendees with the details about opioid use disorder in the District of Columbia. Dr. Chapman emphasized that the management of patients requires a holistic approach to include medication assisted treatment and addressing the mental health co-diagnosis while integrating the primary care physician practice with psychiatric services, medication therapy management, advocacy and patient support (among these faith based organizations).

Dr. Edwin Chapman
Dr. Edwin Chapman

Dr. Chapman was recognized during the conference by Bonnie Horvath, Director Healthcare Quality & Safety at Qlarant, as she provided a plaque to Dr. Chapman, “In recognition of Dr. Chapman and the Medical Home Development Group and their contributions to their patients’ quality of care, safe care, and working with the Qlarant Quality Improvement Organization across our many tasks; cardiovascular, diabetes, immunizations, medication safety, care-coordination, value-based purchasing and MACRA MIPS. We want to say thank you for your work”.

A ‘Tackling the Opioid Crisis’ panel included Friedhelm Sandbrink, MD, DC VA Medical Center, Edwin Chapman, MD, MHDG, Yavar Moghimi, MD, AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia, Renia Matthews, PharmD, George Washington University Hospital, Michael Wylie, VP Business Development, Genesis HealthCare, and Daniel Perlin, MD, Physician Health Committee MSDC. This moderated discussion identified current actions within the panel member’s organizations and provided some suggested solutions including more, availability of, and connection with psychiatric services, care coordination with handoff for transitions of care to treatment centers, providing patient/family support, decriminalization instead of incarceration (evidence from France and Portugal), integration of pain management with behavioral health, and long term intensive monitoring programs.

McClendon Center, Behavioral and Mental Health Services described their management of substance use disorder, a model of integrating mental health services with navigation of the health system to ensure care coordination to mitigate lapses through transitions of care.

DC Health Immunizations program services and outreach efforts to improve immunization uptake through the lifespan were presented. This included the influenza and influenza-like illness epidemiology in the District for the 2017-2018 flu season and review of a mumps outbreak. These cases illustrate the importance of immunizations to diminish the burden on the healthcare system and in preventing serious infections.

DC Health Epidemiology, working with ROAR, provided an overview of several initiatives underway in the District to improve antimicrobial use. Among these is an Antimicrobial Subcommittee tasked with providing education and guidance for appropriate antimicrobial use across care settings in the District. Another current project is dedicated to working with DC Nursing Homes to implement antimicrobial stewardship teams and working with Qlarant to recruit all facilities to report to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) for reporting of Clostridium difficile or C. difficile.

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