Medical City’s Three-Phase Plan to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Medical City Healthcare is doing its part to reduce opioid prescriptions in North Texas in the face of a nationwide crisis. The health system is using a three-phase plan to fight the overdose epidemic, which claimed the lives of 70,000 Americans in 2017 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first phase launched in 2018, and targets opioid reduction in the system’s emergency departments. Over that period, the system has seen a 21 percent reduction in pain treatment with opioids because of less addictive but effective treatment options such as patches, medications, injections, and other therapies.

“This is an evolution in how we approach pain relief for patients,” says Dr. Miguel Benet, Medical City Healthcare Chief Medical Officer, via release. “These initiatives represent our commitment to patients not just while they are in our care, but also to their well-being after they leave the hospital.”

The next prong of the plan is focused on surgical recovery, where similar alternatives are being used to reduce opioid use. A pilot study has employed virtual reality, where 35 percent of patients report decreased pain, and 60 percent reported a reduction in anxiety.

The final phase of the initiative is all about community education to fight the misuse of surplus and expired medications, and the system’s hospitals now have 24/7 drug take back boxes to allow North Texas to anonymously dispose of the medications, though not syringes, lancets, or other medical equipment. The following hospitals with medication take back boxes are:

  • Medical City Alliance
  • Medical City Arlington
  • Medical City Dallas
  • Medical City Denton
  • Medical City Fort Worth
  • Medical City Frisco
  • Medical City Las Colinas
  • Medical City Lewisville
  • Medical City McKinney
  • Medical City North Hills
  • Medical City Plano
  • Medical City Weatherford

The plan is part of a national “Crush the Crisis” initiative.