Virginia Mason Memorial Receives Award for Opioid Registry

Mason Memorial Receives Award for Opioid Registry

YAKIMA, Wash.- The number of Opioid deaths has increased all over the Nation during the last few years, even right here in our hometown.

"They would just give me a big brown bottle, 100 pills of Codeine and a bottle of Valium and send me on my way," said Ellis.

Bill Ellis is a recovering Opioid user that started back when he was in the army during the 70's. He realized his problem, sought help and got clean. Years later he decided he wanted to help people with drug addictions get on a better path and start his own drug addiction facility here in Yakima back in 2004. Ellis Jr. says he has many Opioid patients that come in to get clean.

"Percentage I'd probably say we have a third of our population that's Opioid dependent," said Ellis.

"Over the last four years over 700 people have died from Opioid overdoses in the state of Washington, but just in Yakima during that same period it's been 65. So this really affects our community," said by the Chief Medicine Officer for SignalHealth Dr. Tanny Davenport.

The Washington State Hospital Association awarded Virginia Mason Memorial a Community Health Leadership Award for their Opioid Registry program. This helps care physicians keep better track of whose receiving strong pain medications to make sure that pills aren't being over prescribed to their patients. Doctors and patients are making better plans to help deal with pain.

"When we started the project, only about 20% of the people who were on the list had pain agreements, now we are up close to 60%," said Dr. Davenport.

The program started last year, and with the improvements Virginia Memorial has seen, they hope to partner with other hospitals around the area and help decrease the number of Opioid deaths.

"There are very few communities like ours that are doing this on this scale, and really having that tool for the providers. I hope that we are the first of many, and that people can learn from us as well," said Dr. Davenport.

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