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What Happened Next

Scott LaFee on

The opioid epidemic has been much in the news. But for every fatal overdose in the United States, there are an estimated 30 non-fatal opioid overdoses. Each of those events represents an opportunity for clinical intervention and prevention of a future overdose.

But what happens next in most cases is mostly nothing at all. In a study of 6,000 Medicaid enrollees who had been treated for an opioid overdose in Pennsylvania, the number of opioid prescriptions after overdosing fell just 10 percent compared with the period before the overdose. And the rate of medication-assisted treatment in the group increased just 12 percent.

Don't Come Back And See Us Sometime

Researchers at George Washington University looked at emergency room use in seven developed countries, including the U.S. They report that ER use was lowest in Germany and Australia, most likely due to better, faster access to primary care. The vast majority of Germans and Australians can make same- or next-day appointments with their regular doctors.

ER use was most common in Canada, with the U.S. and Switzerland close behind.

The U.S. was tops in keeping people from coming back to the ER, primarily due to efforts to incentivize hospitals to cut readmission rates.

 

Body of Knowledge

The average American consumes 14,820 pounds of meat in a lifetime, or the equivalent of a large Minke whale.

Get Me That, Stat!

Seven in 10 people aged 65 years and older have not discussed end-of-life care with a physician and 4 in 10 have not documented their end-of-life wishes.

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Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.

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