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ED Prescription Policy

Emergency Services

275 Sandwich Street
Plymouth, MA 02360
(508) 746-2000

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About Our ED Pain Medication Prescription Policy

In an effort to control the abuse of pain medications (opioids), Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Plymouth has adopted guidelines by the Massachusetts Hospital Association limiting the prescription of pain medications to Emergency Department patients.

The Opioid Management Policy for Emergency Departments (ED) is an effort to guide and support ED providers regarding opioid utilization and prescription. This policy enables Emergency Department providers to take an active role in decreasing inappropriate access to opioid drugs after delivery of care. ED providers agree that a patient requiring opioid medications as part of a treatment regimen generally should receive medications through one medical clinic or provider (and not the ED) to ensure safety and continuity of care. ED providers also recognize there are circumstances when prescribing limited amounts of opioid medication from the ED may be appropriate.

The MHA Task Force has agreed and determined that Emergency Department providers should not provide prescriptions for controlled substances that were lost, destroyed or stolen. Further, Emergency Department providers should not provide doses of methadone for patients in a methadone treatment program, unless the dose is verified with the treatment program and the patient's ED evaluation and treatment has prevented them from obtaining their scheduled dose. In addition, the Task Force requested that Emergency Departments should institute a similar policy to not replace prescriptions for opioid analgesics requested based on having been lost, stolen, or destroyed. Based on the professional judgment of the treating ED provider, an on-site dispensing of a single dose may be a reasonable option. Although expected to be rare, when warranted ED providers should document that they confirmed the need directly with the patient’s physician. ED providers should not replace these prescriptions if they are unable to obtain this confirmation.