Hospital Makes PCSS Chronic Pain Core Curriculum Mandatory

Hanover Hospital, a 93-bed hospital in Hanover, Pennsylvania, now requires all prescribers and new hires to take the PCSS core curriculum for treating chronic pain.

Michael Peck, DO, Medical Director of
HanoverWorks Occupational Health

Michael Peck, DO, Medical Director of HanoverWorks Occupational Health, took the course and was so impressed, he asked the hospital’s president and CEO, Michael Gaskins, if he could make the course mandatory; Gaskins immediately agreed. “I thought it was an incredible course,” he says. “I learned a lot of information from it. I remember thinking, ‘this is really good stuff. This is going to be really helpful.’”

The core curriculum was developed by pain specialists Roger Chou, MD, FACP, and Melissa B. Weimer, DO, MCR, who have extensive knowledge in treating chronic pain. They developed the course for primary care providers who want to have an in-depth knowledge in treating chronic pain. The course includes 14 modules (including an overview):

  • Basics of Chronic Pain and Chronic Pain Evaluation
  • Basic Tenets of Pain Treatment
  • Opioid Therapy for Pain: An Evidence Review
  • Opioid Pharmacology and Dosing Management
  • Opioid Risk Assessment, Mitigation, and Management
  • Understanding and Assessing Opioid Use Disorder in Patients with Chronic Pain
  • Opioid for Pain Treatment in Persons with Opioid Use Disorder
  • Managing Pain in Patient with Opioid Use Disorder: Inpatient Management
  • Motivational Interviewing in Managing Pain
  • Stress, Relaxation, and Mindful Breathing: A Primer
  • Keys to Communication Success in Opioid Management
  • Managing Patients with Pain and Psychiatric Co-Morbidity
  • Pain Medication and Adolescents: Special Considerations

Hanover recently conducted an assessment of opioid prescribing practices of its primary care providers and identified two ‘outlier’ prescribers who were prescribing opioids at what was determined as unacceptably high rates. Dr. Peck immediately required the two physicians to take the core curriculum (one complied, the other is no longer in the system). “I knew we needed to make sure both our outliers take the course,” Dr. Peck said.

As part of the assessment of opioid prescribing practices, Hanover also discovered that many of its primary care providers, approximately 60 physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, had no idea how to go about treating their patients for chronic pain using evidence-based practices.

While nearly every provider has patients who have chronic pain, Dr. Peck said, few CME courses address treating chronic pain and evidence-based prescribing practices, so learning of the PCSS core curriculum was extremely helpful.

In addition to courses, PCSS also offers a no-cost clinical coaching program, which matches primary care providers with clinical experts in pain and substance use disorders. Find out more about PCSS and the core curriculum here and the PCSS-O coaching program here.