As medical knowledge increases, so does the way we practice medicine. For example, recent research has changed how we practice pain management.
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines on the safe use of opioids when not related to cancer, palliative or end-of-life care. (Examples of opioids are hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine.) The CDC strongly urged that patients not take opioids and benzodiazepines at the same time. (Examples of benzodiazepines are Ativan, Valium, Xanax and Klonopin.) The Food & Drug Administration also gave their strongest warning—called a Black Box Warning—against taking these two types of drugs at once.
Why? This mix can cause sedation and affect your ability to breathe. The result can be coma or even death. Alcohol has a similar effect when mixed with opioids.
For patient safety, the Pain Management Department of Greenville Health System has decided the following: Patients taking benzodiazepines AND opioids must find an alternative to benzodiazepines OR be weaned off opioids. Likewise, patients taking opioids are to avoid alcohol at all times.
We realize that some patients have been taking this unsafe mix of drugs for years. We also realize that changing medication can be scary. However, the risk of mixing these drugs is too great to keep prescribing them. To help you and the prescriber of your benzodiazepine, we have made of list of non-benzodiazepine medications that may be a safe and effective alternative to benzodiazepines.
Our goals focus on your safety, comfort and ability to function. If those goals come into conflict, your safety is our top concern. To learn more about the safe use of opioids, read these CDC guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prescribing/guideline.html.
Please call our office if you have questions about this serious safety issue.
- Urine Drug Screening– All patients of pain management are required to submit to random drug screening. This may be done during the visit or a patient may be called between visits. Failure to give a specimen in the appropriate time frame could result in discharge from care.
- Pill Counts– All patients of pain management are required to submit to random pill counts at the discretion of the treating provider. If a patient is called to return for a pill count and fails to comply, it could result in discharge from care.
- Family/Friends in Exam Room– Patients are allowed to have someone accompany them into the exam room; however, during the physical exam they may be asked to leave the room.
- Late Policy– Existing patients are asked to arrive 15 minutes early for their appointment. Patients having a procedure in the office or a new patient is asked to arrive 30 minutes early for their appointment. This allows the staff time to complete registration and check-in, and for the patient to complete paperwork prior to the appointment time. Failure to complete this process before the appointment time could result in a shortened or rescheduled appointment.
- No show Fees– We require a 24-hour notice for cancellations. Patients that no-show or cancel in less than 24 hours may receive a no-show fee of: $25/existing pts or $50/new patients
Frequently Asked Questions
Completed new patient packet (if received), required co-pay, insurance card, photo ID, medications in the original bottle, Radiology Imaging (i.e. MRI) Discs if applicable.
No, patients do not typically receive medication on their first visit.
No, we do not call in medications after business hours or on holidays.
Although management and the physicians will review your request, switching physicians within our practice is not typical.
For the health and safety of our patients, it is best practice to routinely test for inconsistencies. This is standard for all patients seen in our pain management offices.
Many of our procedures require you to have a driver with you. Please check with your physician for specific instructions regarding your procedure.