Physician Partners of America refutes sign saying it will cut off opioid users — 5 details

Written by Angie Stewart | May 28, 2019 | Print  |

A window sign suggesting that Physician Partners of America would cut off all opioid prescriptions was "unauthorized" and "untrue," according to the Tampa, Fla.-based surgery center and pain clinic operator.

1. On May 14, a sign was posted at PPOA's Jacksonville, Fla., clinic with the following message:

"Attention all patients. Per our chief officer, Dr. Rivera, we will be starting to focus on interventional medicine only and we will not be managing medication. This will be fully effective within the next 30 days or less."

2. After a photo of the sign was widely shared on social media, PPOA Social Media and Content Specialist Maria Hickman said in a statement that the sign was "in no way authorized or approved by management, and its message is untrue. It resulted from an employee's misinterpretation of our goal to reduce opioid dependence."

3. A 2016 CDC guideline recommends tapering patients off opioids if the benefits don't outweigh the potential harms, and only with the patient's consent, according to Pain News Network

4. PPOA will continue prescribing opioids when appropriate, according to Ms. Hickman's statement, but providers will continue efforts to reduce opioid prescriptions in accordance with CDC guidelines. The organization does focus on using alternative interventional pain management modalities such as trigger point injections, nerve blocks and topical medications.

"We recognize the opioid crisis backlash," Ms. Hickman said. "As an organization, we sympathize with the plight of people who rely on, but who do not intentionally abuse, prescription opioid medications to manage their chronic pain. We aim to show them what we consider a better, safer way to reduce or eliminate pain."

5. PPOA treats an estimated 20,000 patients in Florida and Texas.

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