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Gunnison Valley Health Becomes Part of Colorado's Opioid Solution

Gunnison Valley Health has joined Colorado’s opioid solution by participating in a pilot program to reduce opioid use and provide alternative pain control methods to inpatients at the hospital.

Gunnison Valley Health’s Patient Care Unit Director, Sherilyn Skokan, said the Clinicians United to Resolve the Epidemic (CO’s CURE) program is focused on reducing the rate of opioid prescriptions at the hospital while still providing appropriate pain relief for patients.

“The program focuses on using alternatives to opioids as a first line of defense in treating patients with pain,” said Ms. Skokan.

“We have assembled a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals to implement this program by integrating effective pain management treatments that are tailored to each patient’s unique pain experience.”

“By joining this pilot program, we are demonstrating our dedication to understanding and responding appropriately to our patients’ physical and emotional symptoms of pain, in addition to taking steps to help our community combat the ongoing opioid epidemic,” she said.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Colorado is at the center of the U.S. opioid epidemic with the 12th highest rate of misuse and abuse of prescription opioids across all 50 states.

In 2017, Gunnison Valley Health’s Emergency Department participated in a similar pilot program, reducing the amount of opioids it administers by 31 percent which far exceeded the program goal by 15 percent.

Gunnison Valley Health’s CEO Rob Santilli said that Gunnison Valley Hospital is one of ten hospitals in Colorado to participate in the Patient Care Unit pilot program, which was developed by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Hospital Medicine with guidance from Colorado Hospital Association, Colorado Medical Society and the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention.

“Our strong interest in participating in this project is to set a standard for rural hospitals and be part of the solution,” said Mr. Santilli.

“Participating in the program cements our passion to help reduce the opioid epidemic in Colorado and continually source healthier solutions that will ultimately make a difference to the Gunnison Valley community,” he said.