A Retrospective Study of the Relationship Between Hospital Regulatory Agency Variations and Opioid Mortality Rates, 1999-2014

(1) Saucon Valley High School, Hellertown, Pennsylvania

Mortality from opioid abuse has risen dramatically in the United States over the last two decades and has become a national health crisis. The majority of hospitals in the United States receive accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare (JCAHO). In July 2000, JCAHO released major revisions to its standards of care regarding pain evaluation and treatment. A common opinion is that JCAHO’s early 2000’s pain management standards are to blame for the opioid epidemic. The main objective of this research was to study opioid mortality over time in order to understand the contribution—or lack thereof—of hospital regulation regarding opioid usage. The following hypotheses were developed: (1) average death rates due to opioid overdose will be significantly different when comparing states grouped by hospital accreditation mix and (2) pre-post change in average death rates due to opioid overdose will be significantly different between states grouped by hospital accreditation mix.

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