CDC last week released updated guidelines on opioid prescribing and pain management for clinicians, in today’s bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Georgia, Illinois, and more.

  • Georgia: CDC on Thursday released updated opioid prescription guidelines, allowing clinicians more flexibility in how they address their patients’ short-term and long-term pain issues. Previous guidelines, which were released in 2016, aimed to address the growing opioid epidemic and included dose limits and caps on treatment duration for chronic pain. However, CDC said doctors, insurers, and others in health care sometimes misapplied these guidelines, leading some patients to face harm, including “untreated and undertreated pain, serious withdrawal symptoms, worsening pain outcomes, psychological distress, overdose, and [suicide].” In the new guidelines, CDC removed the rigid limits on opioid prescription and use and instead focused on outlining how clinicians and patients can work together to create a safe and effective plan to treat pain. Four areas addressed in the guidelines are deciding whether to initiate opioid use, selecting opioids and their dosage, deciding the duration of initial treatment and follow-up, and assessing and addressing potential risks of opioid use. “This guideline is really intended to be a mechanism to help patients and providers work together,” said Christopher Jones, acting director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “We have leaned in on more principles, rather than thresholds.” (Bernstein, Washington Post, 11/3; Carbajal, Becker’s Hospital Review, 11/3; Stone/Huang, “Shots,” NPR, 11/3)
  • Illinois: Walgreens Boots Alliance has named Bryan Hanson, president, CEO, and chair of Zimmer Biomet, to its board of directors. Before joining Zimmer Bioment, Hanson was EVP and president of Medtronic‘s minimally invasive therapies group. According to Walgreens, Hanson has more than 30 years of leadership experience in healthcare, health innovation, and emerging technologies. As a member of Walgreens’ board, Hanson will serve on its compensation and leadership committee and the finance and technology committee. “Bryan is a tremendous addition to our board of directors, with his leadership experience in health care and technology verticals that will continue to play a key role as part of our consumer-centric healthcare strategy,” said Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Roz Brewer. (Chen, Chicago Business Journal, 10/28)
  • With the possibility of a winter surge in Covid-19 cases on the horizon, some colleges and universities are requiring their students to receive an updated booster. Schools with new booster requirements include Harvard University, Tufts University, Wellesley College, Yale University, and Fordham University. According to Michael Jordan, executive medical director of occupational health services and university infection control health director at Tufts, the school’s booster requirement for eligible faculty, staff, and students is “in accordance with the university’s current COVID-19 vaccine policies and aligned with U.S. CDC guidance and based upon sound public health principles” and aligns with its goal “to keep our entire community healthy and safe from widespread, severe infection, including those who are immunocompromised or unvaccinated due to religious or medical accommodation.” (Henderson, MedPage Today, 11/2)


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