Greater Emphasis on Non-opioid Pain Management is Crucial, say Experts

by | Last updated Feb 8, 2024 | Published on Feb 7, 2017 | Specialty Billing

Non Opioid Pain
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Reliable pain management medical billing services are available to help pain medicine physicians deal with the complexities of getting reimbursed for the care they provide, including getting paid for their time. However, when it comes to treating patients, these experts are at a crossroads – they are under hostile federal scrutiny if they prescribe opioids for chronic pain but often face patient ire if they do not, especially if the condition is one that requires aggressive opioid therapy.

A recent report says that experts in Canada are stressing the need for better support for non-opioid pain management options. According to the president of the Canadian Pain Coalition, “unrelenting and under-managed” pain impacts everything in a person’s life. With the current over-reliance on opioid therapy and increase in the number of illicit overdose opioid-related fatalities, experts are urging the country to revise its approach to pain management. They recommend providing better support for alternative treatments.

There are three options to treat pain:

  • Pharmacological – drugs
  • Physical – massage and physiotherapy, and
  • Psychological – Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness

Non-opioid medications used to treat chronic pain include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and paracetamol.

Opioids may be an important tool for acute pain, but they are not a good option for long-term pain, do not provide good long-term results, and are not safe. However, an expert says that opioids and other pharmacological strategies tend to get the most financial support while proven non-drug treatments lack sufficient coverage. Along with encouraging health plans to cover non-opioid therapy better, a two-pronged approach is recommended to address the problem: improving the level of training in pain management that doctors receive and educating patients about pain and how to address it in daily life.

As pain management specialists grapple with the complexities of patient care, outsourcing medical billing and coding is the best strategy to ensure effective revenue cycle management. For many categories of E/M services such as office visits, inpatient services, and consultations, time is included as an explicit factor in the CPT codes. Levels of care can be selected based on the time spent with the patient when counseling and/or coordination of care dominates (more than 50%) the physician/patient and/or family encounter. Expert coders in physician coding companies will help physicians select the right E/M codes for encounters that involve extensive counselling to get properly paid for their work. They will also help them take advantages of the merit-based incentive payment system under MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015).

Julie Clements

Julie Clements, OSI’s Vice President of Operations, brings a diverse background in healthcare staffing and a robust six-year tenure as the Director of Sales and Marketing at a prestigious 4-star resort.

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