Decatur County Hospital Expands Program Aimed at Optimizing Pain Management and Reducing Opioid Use

Decatur County Hospital is proud to announce participation today in the Billion Pill Pledge program, launched in conjunction with Goldfinch Health.  This is an expansion of our current participation in the Goldfinch Health Nurse Navigator program.

In October, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced the initiative designed to prevent opioid addiction before it begins.

“Our office has worked hard to secure settlements from the companies that contributed to the opioid crisis. Now it’s time for state and local governments to use those funds to abate the crisis, including by preventing future addiction,” Miller said. “We are grateful to have Decatur County Hospital join us in this important work.”

Surgery has long been known as a gateway to long-term opioid painkiller use and dependence. Studies show 9% of surgery patients who have never used an opioid become long-term users of opioids after being legally prescribed opioids after a surgery.

Through the Billion Pill Pledge program, Decatur County Hospital will enhance its surgery protocols and optimize pain management around surgery. These industry-leading approaches are designed to enhance patients’ preparation for surgery, better manage any surgery-related pain, and minimize opioid use both before and after surgery.

“We applaud the State of Iowa for highlighting this issue and understanding the importance of prevention in addressing the opioid crisis,” said Mike Johnston, Decatur County Hospital CEO. “Opioid challenges are not just patient challenges. They are community challenges. The Billion Pill Pledge program will help us to better serve our community.”

As a part of this FREE program, Decatur County Hospital surgical patients will have access to a Goldfinch Nurse Navigator who are experts in surgery and recovery. Patients will receive a “Prepared for Surgery” care package prior to surgery. This box includes a number of items key to optimizing a patient’s surgery experience. Goldfinch Nurses will also support patients during the critical periods before and after surgery to help increase the use of opioid minimizing surgery protocols. This is a free service available to patients who undergo total joint replacements, general, or vascular surgery at Decatur County Hospital. The program will be expanded to other surgical procedures in the future.

“The support provided by Goldfinch Health is critical to our success in optimizing patient care,” said Dr. Ed Wehling, General/Vascular Surgeon and Chief of the DCH Medical Staff. “This program means our patients have access to the resources they need to confidently prepare for and successfully recover from surgery.”

The mission of the Billion Pill Pledge is to reduce leftover opioids after surgery in the United States by 1 billion pills each year, thereby avoiding those pills being possibly diverted to unauthorized use by others.

The Billion Pill Pledge initiative joins another resource announced in September by Attorney General Miller. The website provides a pathway to recovery for Iowans with Opioid Use Disorder and their loved ones.

Goldfinch Health is an Iowa City-based company dedicated to enhancing surgical outcomes, improving the surgery experience for patients, and reducing opioid use.

For more information about the Billion Pill Pledge program, please contact: Meredith Allan:

Depending on your insurance, you likely do not need a referral to see our surgeons and specialists. To learn more and schedule your consultation, call our Outpatient Clinic at 641-446-2285.