September 03, 2019

Physician Practice Reports Dramatic Decline in Opioid Prescriptions

HealthONE, Denver’s largest health system, and CarePoint Health of Greenwood Village, CO, one of the nation’s largest privately held physician practice groups, today announced a dramatic decline in the number of opioids prescribed at 13 Denver-area HealthONE Emergency Departments.

CarePoint reviewed opioid prescriptions written during more than 13,000 patient encounters in both 2015 and 2019 across HealthONE’s 13 Denver-area emergency departments.    For the top two opioid prescriptions, oxycodone/acetaminophen (Percocet) and hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin), a 75% decrease in the prescriptions in 2019 compared to 2015 was reported.    Extrapolating this data across a year for the 13 Emergency Departments would result in more than half a million fewer opioid pills prescribed annually. 

“CarePoint has partnered with HealthONE and instituted a comprehensive opioid reduction education program for all Emergency Department providers to protect patients from harm,” says Steve Quach, MD, CEO of CarePoint Health.  This is among the largest reductions in Emergency Department opioid prescribing ever reported.

“Our physician partnership with CarePoint has allowed our hospitals to provide marked, meaningful reductions in opioid prescriptions,” stated Sylvia Young, President and CEO of HealthONE/HCA Healthcare Continental Division.  “These reductions speak to our commitment to address the opioid epidemic head on.”

In 2017, HealthONE and CarePoint participated in a pilot program directed by the Colorado Hospital Association spanning six-months with the goal of reducing the administration of opioids during Emergency Department visits by 15 percent. After completion of the pilot, which reduced opioid administration by 36 percent, HealthONE and CarePoint expanded the program across all 13 Denver-area Emergency Departments.

About HealthONE

HealthONE is the largest healthcare system in the metro Denver area with more than 11,000 employees.  As part of the HealthONE system of care, The Medical Center of Aurora, North Suburban Medical Center, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Rose Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center, and Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital work together to provide a higher level of care.  In addition, our family of services includes seven hospital free-standing emergency departments and numerous ambulatory surgery centers, CareNow urgent care and occupational medicine clinics, physician practices, imaging centers, and AIRLIFE-DENVER, which provides critical care air and ground transportation across a 10-state region.  And, as the #7 corporate philanthropist in the metro area, and the only hospital system in the top 10, HealthONE contributed more than $1.5 million in 2018 and supports over 150 organizations through cash and in-kind donations.

About CarePoint Health

CarePoint Health is one of the largest privately held and democratically owned multispecialty physician practices in the U.S. with over 600 healthcare specialists providing care across Colorado, Utah, Kansas, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Its telemedicine division, Blue Sky Telehealth, provides services in twenty-eight states. Learn more about CarePoint’s clinical specialties and telehealth offerings at

Opioid Reduction

View Transcript

John: HealthONE and physician group Care Point Health tracked opioid prescriptions doctors wrote in 13 Denver area emergency department since 2015. They report a 75% reduction for the top two prescriptions, Percocet and Vicodin. Dr. Don Stader says doctors used alternatives like Motrin, Tylenol, and lidocaine. Instead of prescribing opioids for pain.

Dr. Stader: We used to prescribe opioids for all types of things like ankle sprains and bad bruises, et cetera, and now we have really concrete no fly zones where if it's minor pain or pain that's very short lived, we just don't prescribe those medications.

John: More than half a million fewer opioid pills were prescribed annually because of the changes. I'm John Daily CPR News.