PracticeLink Magazine

Spring 2018

The career development quarterly for physicians of all specialties, PracticeLink Magazine provides readers with feature articles, compensation stats, helpful job search tips—as well as recruitment ads from organizations across the U.S.

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34 S PRIN g 2018 PracticeLink.com ▼ T HE J OB S E A r CH ISSUE D E P A R T M E N T S Reform Recap J e FF a TKINS o N a n update on the opioid epidemic As record numbers of Americans die, projects (and prosecutions) emerge. a PP ro XIM a T e LY 64,000 P eo PL e DI e D in the u .S. in 2016 from opioid overdoses — a four-fold increase from 2000. That compares with 40,000 deaths in motor vehicle accidents in 2016. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death of Americans under age 50. The rate of deaths from opioid overdose has increased so much that it is responsible for a 2.5-month reduction of average life expectancy for Americans between 2000 and 2015 after several years in which average life expectancy was increasing. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the states with the highest death rates from opioids are in Appalachia, New England and the Southwest. Precise, current data on drug overdoses is not possible to obtain because of the delays by medical examiners in determining the cause of death and submitting data to the CDC. Toxicology reports often take several months to process. Blame for the crisis Drug companies and the insurance industries have received part of the blame for the opioid crisis. Beginning in the 1990s, drug companies increased funding for organizations and CM e programs to encourage the expanded use of opioids. Spending on opioids increased by more than 40 percent between 2006 and 2010. Insurance companies often preferred to pay for comparatively cheap drugs rather than alternate therapies and interdisciplinary pain clinics. Murder conviction for physician In egregious cases, a physician's involvement in opioid abuse can lead to criminal penalties. In 2016, a California general practitioner, Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison following her conviction for second-degree murder in the deaths of three patients. She also was found guilty on more than 12 counts of illegally prescribing drugs. One of the patients who died of an overdose of drugs prescribed by Tseng traveled more than 300 miles with friends to obtain prescriptions from the physician. The federal government is stepping up its efort to pu nish over-prescription of painkillers. In 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced funding for 12 experienced Assistant United States

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