McKinney hospitals implement programs to fight opioid crisis

Collin County has the lowest rate of citizens with opioid prescriptions among surrounding counties.
Collin County has the lowest rate of citizens with opioid prescriptions among surrounding counties.

Collin County has the lowest rate of citizens with opioid prescriptions among surrounding counties.

Image description
Since 2012, opioid prescription rates have been on the decline despite public health concerns tied to opioids rising. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Methodist McKinney Hospital and Baylor Scott & White launched its own initiatives to combat the opioid crisis. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Medical City McKinney began a Crush the Crisis initiative. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
An opioid is a class of drug used for pain relief. (Community Impact Newspaper)
McKinney hospitals are working to reduce their opioid prescription rates to combat addiction and lower overdose risk for their patients.

McKinney’s major hospitals for adult patients—Medical City McKinney, Methodist McKinney and Baylor Scott & White Health—are all acting to address the opioid epidemic, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified as a national health crisis.

Opioid prescriptions have been reduced by 21% in the emergency rooms of Medical City Healthcare’s North Texas hospitals since the institution launched its Crush the Crisis initiative in November 2018.

“They’re a class of drugs that are exceedingly effective but also very, very addictive,” Medical City McKinney CEO Ernest C. Lynch III said.

Hospitals across the state are addressing the opioid epidemic through similar initiatives, said Karen Kendrick, vice president of clinical initiatives and quality at the Texas Hospital Association.


“Our hospitals are doing a great job of monitoring the types of medications they’re prescribing, using alternatives to opioid medications whenever possible and then giving only a limited prescription until patients can get to a primary care physician and be managed,” Kendrick said.

Fighting the crisis

In 2017, more than 70,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses, and 68% of those overdoses involved opioids, according to CDC data.

Lynch said the opioid crisis does not discriminate based on demographics, age or wealth.

“Drug addiction cuts across all socioeconomic classes,” Lynch said. “There’s not a city or a county that’s not touched by it.”

Danny Andino, CEO of Arise Recovery Center, an outpatient addiction treatment center that has a location in McKinney, said his clinic provides resources for people who are trying to free themselves from addiction and are unsure where to turn.

“Some people, they start with a prescription, and they start to get that feeling that they really crave, and so they continue to seek more pills,” he said. “Sometimes, what we see is when they run out of those pills or the doctors aren’t giving them to [patients] anymore, sometimes, they’ll turn to heroin, which seems really crazy and unfortunate, but that’s the cycle that we see can happen as well.”

Taking action

Local hospitals are addressing the opioid crisis with system-wide initiatives.

In the Medical City system, the opioid initiative is three-pronged. The first phase, which launched last year, focuses on lessening the number of opioid medications prescribed in Medical City emergency rooms. The final two phases, which focus on reducing the use of opioids in surgical recovery and on educating the community, respectively, were launched in September.

Dr. Jaya Kumar, chief medical officer at Medical City McKinney, said she and her colleagues focus on treating patients with equally effective, less addictive alternatives to opioids as much as possible. This includes using two or more methods of medications to manage a patient’s pain while they are recovering from surgery or being treated in the emergency room.

“As physicians, we’ve had a paradigm shift in the way we look at management of pain and, in general, pain control,” she said. Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-McKinney is also using this approach to manage pain. In addition, the hospital is now assigning a single healthcare provider to each patient to lead the course of the patient’s care and monitor pain management. And with the hospital’s use of minimally invasive surgery, recovery times are shorter and create less discomfort, Dr. William Montgomery, an orthopedic surgeon with Baylor Scott and White Medical Center-McKinney, and Dr. Laurie Novosad, a colorectal surgeon at the hospital, said in an email.

“This allows us to prescribe less opioid medication to patients and get them back to their normal life sooner,” the email stated.

Methodist McKinney Hospital, meanwhile, is prioritizing pain assessment and management.

“We have dedicated a multidisciplinary team to promote education and change in order to improve practices surrounding how we partner with patients to manage their pain in the safest way possible,” Joe Minissale, president of Methodist McKinney Hospital, said in a statement.

As part of its Crush the Crisis initiative, Medical City Healthcare is introducing new pain management strategies in its facilities. Kumar said these alternatives to prescribed drugs for post-surgery patients include distraction techniques, such as hot and cold therapy and massage therapy.

While reducing prescription rates is a step hospitals can take to reduce initial addiction, Lynch noted that illegal opioids also pose a serious problem.

“Illicit and re-manufactured fentanyl could be 50-100 times more potent than morphine,” Lynch said. “You also have the illegal drug trade, and it is significant. It’s a crisis.”

Proper disposal

The third phase of Medical City McKinney’s Crush the Crisis initiative focuses on educating the community about the dangers of opioids and stressing the importance of safely disposing of unwanted medication.

Drug take-back boxes were installed in 12 Medical City hospitals in September, including one at Medical City McKinney, to provide locations to safely and anonymously drop off prescription opioids and other unwanted or expired medications.

It is important to use safe medication disposal methods, Lynch said, because flushing medication down a toilet or a drain can create potential health and environmental hazards.

Kumar also encouraged patients to use the drop boxes because leaving prescription drugs lying around the house can inadvertently make the drugs accessible to people who are already addicted to them, she said.

“About half of the people who misuse opioids actually obtained them from stealing them from someone they know,” she said. “If you’re prescribed opioids, you have to be responsible enough to save them and return them back if you don’t need them.”

For people already struggling with opioid addiction, a list of local treatment resources can be found on the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration website.

“The community should come together and view addiction as a chronic disorder and not just as a taboo on drug addiction,” Kumar said.

Editor's note: The original post has been edited to correct an error referencing Methodist McKinney Hospital.
By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 covering Tarrant County news, and is now back in Collin County as the editor of the McKinney edition.


MOST RECENT

Community Impact staff
Health Care Edition 2020: A list of hospitals in McKinney

See hospital information and new programs.

(Community Impact staff)
Collin County takes top rank for health outcomes, health factors in 2020

Collin County offers a variety of health services for residents. See how healthy the county is and how its health care industry ranks statewide with these statistics.

Original ChopShop will open June 11 in McKinney. (Courtesy Original ChopShop)
Original ChopShop sets June 11 opening date in McKinney

Original ChopShop has set a date to open its first location in McKinney.

The Al Ruschhaupt splash pad in McKinney has reopened for the season. (Courtesy McKinney Parks & Recreation Department)
Splash pads reopen in McKinney

The McKinney Parks & Recreation Department announced the reopening of its splash pads for the season.

Although Texas restaurants began to open May 1, to-go alcohol sales will be allowed to continue, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. (Courtesy Pexels)
Protests, development plans and three other popular DFW stories from this week

Here are five recent updates from the metroplex on police brutality protests, a Frisco report of West Nile Virus and more.

SNAP, a federal program overseen in Texas by the HHSC, assists around 1.4 million eligible low-income individuals and families statewide. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Emergency SNAP food benefits extended in Texas during COVID-19 pandemic

SNAP assists around 1.4 million eligible low-income individuals and families in Texas.

Many of those present at the gathering of Collin County Churches wore shirts and held signs that said "praying for justice and against racism." More shirts with the same message were handed out to the crowd. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Photos: Scenes from prayer gathering hosted by Collin County Churches

Pastors and staff from about 10 churches prayed and spoke about racism and injustice from the steps of the Collin County Courthouse during the June 4 gathering..

Following approval by McKinney City Council, construction of a mini-roundabout with lighting and pedestrian enhancements was expected to begin in late May at the intersection of Rockhill Road and Graves Street, officials said. (Graphic by Michelle Degard/Community Impact Newspaper)
McKinney transportation update: Rockhill Road construction

Following approval by McKinney City Council, construction of a mini-roundabout with lighting and pedestrian enhancements was expected to begin in late May at the intersection of Rockhill Road and Graves Street, officials said.

CMS also unveiled an interactive map that lets users search any nursing home in the U.S. to see its COVID-19 cases. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
CMS reports 321 coronavirus deaths in Texas nursing homes, nearly 32,000 nationwide

CMS also unveiled an interactive map that lets users search any nursing home in the U.S. to its COVID-19 cases.

Frisco announced the spray park at J.R. Newman Park will reopen June 5 along with the spray parks at Frisco Commons and Shepherd's Glen Park. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
Spray parks return to Frisco and more: Business and community news from the DFW area

Read the latest business and community news from Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

UltiMutts opened May 26 and is now offering dog boarding in McKinney. (Courtesy UltiMutts)
Canine retreat UltiMutts opens in McKinney

UltiMutts opened May 26 and is now offering dog boarding in McKinney.

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Centennial in Frisco is part of a large health system that announced a series of layoffs and furloughs last week. (Courtesy Baylor Scott & White)
North Texas hospitals, hit by revenue losses, lobby for Medicaid program expansion

A group of North Texas hospitals plans to promote expanding Medicaid ahead of next year’s session of the Texas Legislature as the state’s health system deals with substantial revenue losses incurred during the coronavirus pandemic.