Valley Preferred, a leading Preferred Provider Organization affiliated with Lehigh Valley Health Network, is proud to announce that Associate Medical Director Kevin McNeill, MD, of Hamburg, was selected as a winner in the 2019 Healthcare Heroes Award program, sponsored by Lehigh Valley Business.
The award honors individuals who are making a significant impact on health care in the Greater Lehigh Valley through medical expertise, innovative approaches, management skills, community outreach, and patient care.
Dr. McNeill has spearheaded efforts across the region to educate providers and prioritize methods that mitigate the epidemic of opioid abuse in our Lehigh Valley and neighboring populations. Primary care physicians are on the front lines of the opioid epidemic and often manage chronic pain.
Dr. McNeill and colleague Gillian Beauchamp, MD, initiated a stewardship committee in 2017 with the mission of “safe and effective use of opioids for chronic pain across the Lehigh Valley Health Network enterprise.” Committee members disseminate education to health care providers, take part in community outreach, and monitor progress among providers as they implement protocols and workflows on chronic pain throughout Lehigh Valley Health Network.
Working directly with fellow primary care physicans, Dr. McNeill provides resources to facilitate appropriate opioid prescribing. He reinforces the protocol that involves comprehensive assessment, risk mitigation, and treatment specific to each patient’s individual needs.
Dr. McNeill also leads a quarterly Pain Management Collaborative that gives family and internal medicine physicians a forum where they can have cases reviewed by pain management physician colleagues, behavioral health providers, and substance use disorder specialists. The group confers on possible solutions, and the originating physician benefits from a multidisciplinary perspective.
The work of the stewardship committee has progressed to include development of a dashboard to follow metrics on opioid prescribing, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
For providers, it offers an evidence-based road map with questions such as: Are you assessing risk? Has a controlled substance agreement been signed? Are you performing regular urine drug screens and/or oral fluid testing? Tracking data on opioid prescribing and sharing via the use of a dashboard allows providers to gauge progress. Targeted outreach to 10 family medicine offices contributed to these results:
• Opioid prescriptions fell by approximately 25%
• Co-prescribing with benzodiazepines and/or muscle relaxants decreased
• Prescription Drug Monitoring Program utilization rose by over 80%
• The average morphine equivalent daily dose has remained below 50
Additionally, at his practice in Hamburg, Dr. McNeill completed a quality improvement project to standardize office workflows on pain management. The purpose was to expand treatment beyond just pharmaceuticals, enhance self-advocacy and self-management of pain, and support an intra-disciplinary approach to pain management.
Healthcare Hero award winners will be featured in a special section in Lehigh Valley Business on June 25.