The Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) has spearheaded a multi-agency collaborative that has been successful at more than halving the prescriptions for narcotics in the region and trimming ED visits among frequent users. Known as “Prescribe Safe,” the approach can be credited, in part, with nudging emergency providers to view addiction as a disease and to reevaluate their role in linking patients with needed treatment.

  • Under its recurrent visitors program, emergency providers at CHOMP reject the term “drug seeking,” instead focusing on addressing the underlying reasons for a patient’s addiction problem.
  • A centerpiece of the Prescribe Safe initiative is county-wide implementation of pain management protocols for the ED, coupled with provider and patient education initiatives about these guidelines and why they are important.
  • Physician leaders of the Prescribe Safe initiative note that networking with community partners has produced alliances with law enforcement on drug take-back events and a more effective response to drug diversion and prescription forgery.
  • By making safety the ultimate goal of the initiative, patient-provider conflict over prescribing choices has been minimized.