Edward Ellison, MD, Testifies Before the President’s Commission on Opioid Crisis

Edward Ellison, MD

Edward M. Ellison, MD, executive medical director and chairman of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, testified last Friday before the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. He described Kaiser Permanente’s Safe and Appropriate Opioid Prescribing Program – an initiative developed to ensure patients’ safety – and some of the positive outcomes achieved to date.

“We are committed to addressing our patients’ pain needs, but at the same time, it’s imperative that we do not create an additional and potentially deadly problem for them,” Dr. Ellison said to the Commission. He explained the program’s four-pronged approach, which focuses on patient education, physician education and support, community protection, and patient safety.

In closing, Dr. Ellison said, “Opioid addiction treatment requires a commitment to long-term relationships with patients and the establishment of a bond of trust, with better understanding of the patient’s underlying medical, psychological, and social needs.”

Dr. Ellison’s commentary describing Kaiser Permanente’s strategy to appropriately reduce the use and dosing of opioid prescriptions for Kaiser Permanente patients was well received by the Commission. The President’s Commission is expected to release a final report on November 1 outlining specific actions the Trump Administration should take to address the issue.

To watch Dr. Ellison’s testimony, click here. Read more about a recent PBS NewsHour episode on opioids and a look at the Kaiser Permanente Safe and Appropriate Opioid Prescribing Program. Also, download our Fact Sheet on Opioids to learn more.

Update, Nov. 6: On Wednesday, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released a final report outlining 56 recommendations it says the Trump Administration and Congress should take to address the issue. The recommendations include confirming physicians have the proper training to prescribe opioids and enforcing mandatory use of prescription drug monitoring databases. In a letter accompanying the report, Commission Chairman Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) asserts that Congress must appropriate funding to enact the proposals. Read the final report.