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[IN-DEPTH] Doctor blames health system, opioid crisis for Tucson pain clinic’s closure

Posted by   /  October 1, 2017  /  No Comments

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Dr. Bennet Davis says the country’s insurance environment is not supportive of front-line innovations in treating the root cause of opioid misuse/ Ron Medvescek / Arizona Daily Sta

The Integrative Pain Center of Arizona permanently closed Friday after 15 years in business — a move leaders say was fueled by a misguided health-system response to the opioid crisis.

The center’s recent financial setbacks could not be overcome in a system where U.S. health insurers are rewarding physicians for treating the symptoms of chronic pain rather than the root causes, center co-founder Dr. Bennet E. Davis said last week as he walked through his darkened north-side Tucson clinic.

Related: Opioid abuse in Flagstaff worse than reported

Also, federal grant money to address issues of opioid misuse tend to focus on “downstream” treatment of symptoms, he said.

“It’s like treating diabetes by increasing funding for kidney transplants and amputations and treating blindness,” Davis said.

That flawed response is only further increasing the number of people becoming ill and dying from opioid overdoses, he said.

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