California spine practice remains 99% opioid-free for 6 years

Practice Management

MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif., has been 99.9 percent opiate-free for six years.

The clinic prescribes opioids to one to two patients a year at most and only in medically necessary cases, according to an April 13 news release shared with Becker's. It also opts for conservative or minimally invasive spine treatments first.

"It is important to us that we manage a patient’s pain through holistic and physical therapies so there isn’t a need for opiates," Jason Koh, DO, said in the release. "Our mission is returning people to health and wellness and opiate use doesn’t support that methodology."

Opiates are the most prescribed drug class to treat lower back pain, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Opioid use before spine surgery ranges from 20 to 70 percent, and about 20 percent of that population is opioid dependent, the organization said in a June 2020 report.

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