The root causes of the United State’s opioid crisis are numerous and complex, but at least some of the blame lays at the feet of overprescription of pills in order to reduce pain for patients. Hospital evaluations were tied to patients’ pain, and many patients were prescribed addictive opioids for chronic pain to keep their evaluations positive.
According to Physicians Partners of America founder Dr. Rodolfo Gari, physicians believed these medicines were not as addictive as they ended up being. At the 13 Dallas-area PPOA clinics, physicians focus on avoiding addictive painkillers and look for alternative ways to treat pain.
PPOA came to Texas with one clinic in 2014, but within six months had expanded to 13 clinics in the region. The multi-specialty clinics address chronic pain and help serve the company’s three outpatient laser surgery centers, but will also treat pain from other causes. PPOA will soon expand to California and are eyeing Houston, mimicking the Texas pattern of opening surgery centers and pain management clinics. There are six surgery centers and 20 clinics in Florida, and the company treats around 20,000 patients between the two states. They employ 700 people across the country and about 300 in Texas.
But Gari knows that PPOA needs to do more than just treat the physical aspect of pain. PPOA employs a full time psychologist who uses a holistic approach to address the mental aspects of addition. They also use laser treatment, stem cells, regenerative medicine and other techniques to avoid opioids and deal with all kinds of pain. In addition to surgery recovery, they frequently treat lower back pain, and accept medicare.
Gari hopes that his technique can be good for business and positively influence the opioid crisis by avoiding them in situations where they were frequently prescribed. “We have to take care of the entire patient,” Gari says. “We don’t take care of the pain, we take care of the person.”