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Webinar: Part II – Opioids in the Life of an MSA
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In February 2015, NAMSAP presented the first part in a three-part series entitled “Opioids in the Life of an MSA.” The series delves into the issue of long-term opioid use for noncancerous pain, the application of evidence based medicine (EBM) in long-term narcotic use, steps the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are taking to restrict narcotic prescribing outliers, and CMS’ policy and the future of long-term opioid use. Part I of this series featured Gary M. Franklin, MD, MPH, author of the American Academy of Neurology’s (AAN) position paper titled “Opioids for Chronic Noncancer Pain ” and David C. Randolph, MD, PhD, Past President of the American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians (AADEP), who addressed the science behind the effectiveness and safety of prescribing practices and how the application of EBM can alter the outcome of the MSA. A recording of Part I can be purchased by clicking here.

Part II of the series will focus on the current state of the opioid epidemic in state worker's compensation systems and evidence-based solution to the issue in Medicare Set Asides. The webinar will begin with a discussion by Vennela Thumula, PhD, MS, and Dongchun Wang, MS, both of the Workers' Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), and will address new WCRI publications outlining the jurisdictional variations in the use of opioids and the long-term use of opioids in workers' compensation systems. Mary Nix, MS, MT(ASCP), SBB, PMP, of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) National Guideline Clearinghouse will then discuss the evidence-based guidelines specific to chronic, non-cancer opioid prescription found in the NGC's database and explain the results of these studies. Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer, PharmD, BCACP, Chief Pharmacist Officer and Assistant Surgeon General for the US Public Health Service, will discuss the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) actions to address opioid prescribing practices and the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

Members: $63
Non-Members: $83 

2:00 pm EST

Continuing Education
NAMSAP has applied for 1.5 credit hours of 
continuing education for the following credentials:

- Certified Geriatric Care Manager (CGCM)
- Certified Life Care Planner / Canadian Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP/CCLCP)
- Certified Medicare Secondary Payer Professional (CMSP)
- Certified Workers' Compensation Professional (CWCP)
- Medicare Set-Aside Consultant Certified (MSCC)



Mary Nix
Health Science Administrator
National Guideline Clearinghouse, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


Mary P Nix, MS, PMP, is the program lead for the National Guideline Clearinghouse and National Quality Measures Clearinghouse at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Ms. Nix has more than 30 years of experience in clinical and research settings. In these settings, she has focused on gathering, configuring, and providing high quality and structured data to inform decisions made by clinical practitioners. Clinically, she managed blood banking/transfusion medicine laboratories and led quality improvement efforts. She transitioned to health services research, applying the analytic and data skills used in clinical pathology to systematic evidence review. Ms. Nix has certifications in biomedical informatics and project management. She has combined all of this to lead multi-million dollar, national projects that use data meeting explicit criteria, informatics, technology and design for AHRQ’s Evidence and Practice Improvement. These projects focus on disseminating evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, health care quality measures, and service and policy innovations, and informing decisions and affecting their implementation by practitioners, providers, purchasers, and policy makers.


Vennela Thumula

Policy Analyst
Workers’ Compensation
Research Institute (WCRI)
Vennela Thumula, PhD, is a policy analyst at the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) whose research focuses on examining pharmaceutical use in the workers’ compensation system. She is the author of several studies evaluating prescribing patterns of opioids, drug formularies, and physician dispensing reforms. She is also currently conducting research examining the self-reported outcomes of injured workers, including recovery of health and functioning, speed and sustainability of return to work, and access to care. Dr. Thumula received her doctorate from the University of Mississippi, School of Pharmacy.    

Pamela Schweitzer
Rear Admiral (RADM), Assistant Surgeon General & Chief Pharmacist Officer
United States Public Health Service (PHS)

Rear Admiral (RADM) Pamela Schweitzer, PharmD, BCACP, is the Assistant Surgeon General and Chief Pharmacist Officer of the United States Public Health Service (PHS). As Chief Pharmacist Officer, RADM Schweitzer is responsible for providing leadership and coordination of PHS pharmacy programs and professional affairs for the Office of the Surgeon General and the Department of Health & Human Services. RADM Schweitzer has served in varied assignments in the Indian Health Service (IHS), Veterans Administration (VA) and currently with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from California State University Fullerton (CSUF), earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Pharmacy, completed an Ambulatory Care/Administrative Residency at University of California Irvine Medical Center and is a Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist (BCACP). RADM Schweitzer has been recognized for her leadership contributions including receiving the American Pharmacists Association Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award (2014), the USPHS Mary Louise Anderson Leadership Award (2012), IHS Senior Pharmacist of the Year Award (2013), the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Pharmacy 2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.


Dongchun Wang

Workers’ Compensation
Research Institute (WCRI)

Dongchun Wang, MS, is an economist at Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) whose research has been focused on medical practice patterns and health care delivered to injured workers. In the past several years, she has been dedicated to the development of the institute’s benchmarks on the costs and utilization of workers compensation pharmaceuticals. Ms. Wang is the author for a number of WCRI studies on drugs, including the costs and utilization of workers’ compensation pharmaceuticals, physician dispensing, and use and longer-term use of opioids. While continuing to research on drug-related issues, she has turned some of her research attention to studying the impact of medical treatment guidelines and utilization review process in workers’ compensation health care delivery systems as well as medical and pharmaceutical care for injured workers with chronic pain. She holds a master’s degree in economics and completed her post-graduate work in the fields of applied econometrics, labor economics, and industrial organization, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.



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