We’ve all heard of opioid addicts who make up aches and pains, fake injuries, or hurt themselves in hopes of being prescribed Vicodin, Percocet, etc. As the opioid crisis’ grows, so do its boundaries, with family pets becoming its next victims. For example, opioid addicted owners will sometimes hurt their pets to get a veterinary prescription for Tramadol.
According to ABC 2 KUTV, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a list of recommendations to help stop opioid-related pet abuse of owners:
- Using alternatives to opioids for pet pain management
- Educating pet owners about possible misuse
- Urging veterinarians to have a safety plan in place in case they encounter someone they believe has hurt an animal trying to get a hold of drugs
- Creating laws to address the problem, including a requirement for vets to report every time they send an opioid or other controlled substance home with a pet owner
Know What Healthcare Is Up Against
This year at AAPC’s HEALTHCON in Las Vegas, April 28-May 1, 2019, The opioid epidemic will be a hot topic. Expert speaker Heather Greene, MBA, RHIA, CPC, CIC, CPMA, CDIP, will be presenting on “Mental Health and the Opioid Crisis: What Do We Code?” and R. Douglas Reed, PharmD; Patrick Harper, MD; and Stacy Nicole Harper, JD, MHSA, CPC, will be speaking on “Breaking Down the Opioid Crisis.” They are presentations you won’t want to miss.
Use Accurate Coding to Help Raise Red Flags
To learn how accurate coding and better documentation can help raise red flags when patient abuse is present, read the articles, “Help Combat the Opioid Crisis by Following Guidelines and State Rules” and “Documenting Opioid Dependence and Abuse” in the February and March 2018 issues of Healthcare Business Monthly magazine.
The DOJ Fights Opioid Fraud
There has been a surge of Department of Justice (DOJ) takedowns of doctors who committed prescription fraud and abuse of opioid drugs. To read about the risks and consequences of this criminal activity in the healthcare industry, read the articles “DOJ Takes Down Father and Son Opioid Kickback Scheme” and “OIG’s Battle with Opioid Abuse Continues” on AAPC’s Knowledge Center.
Executive Editor at AAPC
Michelle A. Dick has been executive editor for AAPC for over 10 years. Prior to her work at AAPC, she was editor-in-chief at Eli Research and Element K Journals, and disk ad coordinator, web designer/developer, and graphic artist at White Directory Publishers, Inc. She has a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from the State University of New York – Buffalo State and is a member of the Flower City Professional Coders in Rochester, N.Y.