Those of you who have followed this column over the years know that I have a special interest in the diversion of controlled substances within healthcare facilities. It started back in 1990 when I formed the Cincinnati Police Department’s Pharmaceutical Diversion Squad. We quickly learned that in addition to doctor shoppers, bad prescriptions, and other scams, a real problem existed in our hospitals and long term care nursing facilities with drug diversion.
Those of you who work in these facilities know the scope of the problem. In Cincinnati we averaged a nurse arrest each and every week, and certainly did not have all of the offenses reported to us. The reluctance of these facilities to report properly is widely known within the industry, and only recently with the New Hampshire case has this gained some national attention.
I am proud to announce the founding of a brand new 501C-3 non-profit organization devoted strictly to the issues of drug diversion inside healthcare facilities. The new organization is the International Health Facility Diversion Association (IHFDA), and has a brand new website at www.ihfda.org .
Yearly membership is very reasonable with many benefits upon joining. In addition to future opportunities to attend webinars and view the latest news on this problem, an email forum is set up that is divided by your specialty or profession, so that you can participate in the discussion, or merely read at your leisure. This forum allows you to network with other professionals across the country that is facing the same problems that you are in your facility.
Several months ago we started this organization by scheduling a first of its kind national healthcare facility diversion conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, September 13-14, 2016. The majority of the agenda is already completed, with incredible topics and speakers that should interest virtually every profession that deals with this issue. Take some time and go to www.ihfda.org and review current agenda topics for the national conference, and think strongly about becoming a member of the association.
There are also opportunities to exhibit at the national conference, and to become a sponsoring entity to get this non-profit organization off the ground and functioning in a short period of time. Kimberly New (Executive Director) and I (President), along with a distinguished hand-picked board of directors, want to make this organization a very professional endeavor that will fill a much needed niche in the world of prescription drug abuse.
This long-standing problem negatively impacts the innocent patients, and the abusing healthcare professional, especially when the problem is not addressed in accordance to the laws and regulations of the federal government and those at the state level. Simply firing the employee allows them to divert drugs meant for new patients, and seriously delays any effective rehabilitation that can be afforded him or her in the process. Of course the collaborative damage generally is huge in these cases both emotionally and financially.
In addition, Kimberly and I have an upcoming one day healthcare facility diversion conference set for Houston, Texas, March 4, 2016. Registration for that seminar is at www.rxdiversion.com and appears to have some great interest for nurses and pharmacists alike. Although we are putting this training on, it is not associated with the IHFDA, but registration fees will include a one year membership in the IHFDA!
We are very excited about this new venture we are taking and we are very much convinced it is the right time and the right climate to launch this organization. It will be focused around proper reporting, which leads to compassionate dealing with the healthcare professional offender, while safeguarding the patient that can become the victim.
So, it’s not too early to sign up for the first ever national conference to be held in Cincinnati’s beautiful Convention Center, with some great hotel rates with a direct link to all of downtown. We hope to see you there!