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UCHealth looks to protect patients, providers from drug diversion

Wide range of options explored, including drug testing


By Tyler Smith
UCHealth
There are many lights shining today on the health care industry. One illuminates a corner that until recently was largely hidden from public view: the issue of drug diversion in hospitals and other facilities and provider impairment and addiction.
The attention comes in the wake of highly publicized instances of health care workers stealing drugs and putting patients at risk. One such case, in Colorado, also exposed the problem of monitoring individuals who continue to secure hospital jobs even after being dismissed for diverting drugs.
Add to that a mountain of publicity about soaring rates of addiction to and deaths from opioid painkillers, and it is little wonder that the public worries about the sobriety of the physicians and other health care workers who treat them.
Against this backdrop, UCHealth and others in the health care industry are working toward improving systems that protect both patients and the rights of providers and other employees – all the while recognizing that addiction is a treatable disease that pays no heed to the professions of the individuals it strikes