UW Health Pain Clinic Focus of Opioid Task Focus Members' Attention
Dr. Al, as he is known to his patients, works diligently to treat pain at his clinic at 1102 S. Park St. without the use of opioids where possible. This approach has garnered attention of state lawmakers since late 2016.
Dr. Al met with Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, who co-chairs the task force with Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, in early 2017 to discuss opioid abuse in Wisconsin, and on Nov. 3 presented his work and information about the clinic to the task force at a public meeting at University Hospital.
“We envisioned having a program that will support everybody to wean down the use of opioids,” he said.
Arriving in 2014, Dr. Al was recruited to grow the program, which has expanded from five providers to 15, with another provider coming in June 2018. The providers include pain physicians to psychologists, a psychiatrist and physical therapists.
In 2014, the clinic was able to accommodate about 4,500 people per year– with wait times up to a year – to more than 10,000 in 2017, and greatly reduced wait times.
The pain management program also encompasses clinics in Sauk Prairie and Mauston, as well as seeing patients at a few other clinics in the Madison area.
After hearing Dr. Al’s presentation, Laura Gutierrez, secretary at the Department of Safety and Professional Services, requested an opportunity to visit the S. Park St. clinic. On Nov. 10, she toured the clinic with Kirsten Reader, assistant deputy secretary.
During the visit, Dr. Al shared specific information about his approach to pain management and answered many questions from the secretary.
Dr. Al’s work fighting the improper use of opioids, and opioid addiction in Wisconsin has also garnered radio and newspaper coverage throughout the state. He has also earned a grant from the CDC to further his efforts promoting alternatives to opioids for pain management.
“We have seen that opioid prescriptions are going down; our patients’ satisfaction is going up; and we are seeing more patients in a safe environment in our pain clinic,” he said to the task force.
Date Published: 11/27/2017