Named Top 20 Rural & Community Hospital in the US Learn More

Alomere Health Co-Leads Effort to Fight The Opioid Crisis

Column Excerpt from Rahul Koranne, MD
CMO Minnesota Hospital Association

I want to start my column this month by sharing an inspirational story about how multiple partners across a community came together and closely collaborated with their patients, families and the entire community to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions being written by 1 million morphine mili equivalents in under 10 months!

In the lakes area of central Minnesota, Alomere Health co-led this effort with leaders from Horizon Public Health. Starting in November 2017, these leaders joined forces with law enforcement agencies, public health nursing, county social services, community pharmacists, educators at all levels and many other community organizations to fight the opioid crisis.

Within the health system, physicians, advanced practice professionals, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, and many other staff and leaders actively participate in this collaborative to educate, empower and work with their patients and families to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions written while holistically treating their community members.

The coalition is actively tracking the outcomes of this initiative and in just 10 months has seen significant reductions in the number of prescriptions written not only for opioids but also amphetamines, benzodiazepines and other sedatives/hypnotic drugs. Leaders and staff also report significant positive outcomes in work resiliency and satisfaction as they help more and more patients fight this battle.

Deb Dittberner, M.D., MBA, chief medical officer, Alomere Health, would like to recognize Sandy Tubbs, PHN; Ashley Nelson, RN, MSN; Paul Kietzmann, M.D.; Tony Lussenhop, M.D.; David Gray, RPH; and Brad Meischner, Pharm.D.; along with the many other leaders and staff from her community who have led this important fight against opioids and other addictive drugs in central Minnesota.

I would like to heartily congratulate every member of this community coalition for this incredible work and impressive results! The journey has begun to have this type of work happen in every corner of our state in service of our neighbors, patients, families and health care staff.

Video: Dr. Paul Kietzmann, Family Medicine Provider has been a vital role in changing our opioid prescribing practices at the clinic. Learn more about how Dr. Kietzmann and the Alexandria Clinic Team are taking steps to ‘flip the script’ to improve our relationships with our patients and serve our community even better!