Opioid Risk Management*

Why is this important?

The prevalence of chronic pain and the complex, related risks of opioid management will require dedication and input from all staff members, from the patient, and loved ones to be managed well. This module will help practices optimize management while mitigating risks related to caring for patients with chronic pain, including those who need to be prescribed opioids in any form, whether for a brief or an extended period of time.

  • According to the Institute of Medicine’s report, “Relieving Pain in America”4, 1 in 3 Americans suffer from chronic pain; 100 million American suffer chronic pain from just three diagnoses alone: back pain, headaches and arthritis.
  • Chronic pain is the number one cause of adult disability in the United States.
  • Overdoses have surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of injury-related deaths in the United States5. In 2020 these deaths increased 30% from the previous year, now over 93,000.
  • Chronic pain costs the United States economy more than $600 billion in direct healthcare costs and lost productivity every year. The costs of pain medications represent only 4% of the total medical costs of pain. 
  • Reducing overreliance on opioids for both acute and chronic pain will help reduce the incidence, prevalence, and negative consequences of side effects, misuse, abuse, overdose, and diversion.

How will these tools help?

If used consistently, the tools and resources described in this module should:
  • Mitigate risks to patients associated with opiate prescribing.   
  • Support a culture of team-based care and of informed, cohesive communication which will benefit the patient and improve the accuracy and effectiveness of the treatment plan.
  • Reduce after-hours calls and reduce medico-legal liability.
  • Optimize and define the frequency and expectations for patients, staff and providers surrounding office visits and phone calls, improving clinician, practice staff and patient satisfaction.
  • Decrease the odds of opiate related deaths.

Target Audience

Target Audience

  • Physicians

  • Physician Assistants

  • Nurse Practitioners

  • Registered Nurses

  • Medical Assistants

  • Practice Managers

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Assess your practice’s ability to successfully develop and track a treatment plan for chronic pain
  • Implement or augment as system that supports team-based support and monitoring of the care plan through PDSA cycle(s).
  • Optimize your use of “universal precautions” when prescribing controlled substances.
  • Learn to foster and optimize collegial, interactive teamwork with all practice employees, patients and interested parties to improve outcomes for patients with chronic pain.
  • Review changes in telemedicine and how, within, state requirements, telemedicine may or may not be appropriate to incorporate into monitoring treatment plans for chronic pain.
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 20.00 ABIM MOC
  • 20.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 1.00 Attendance
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Practice Advisor Content Manager

Jillian Schneider, MHA, Manager Practice Support, American College of Physicians, 


Gregory A. Hood, MD, MACP, FRCP, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Kentucky School of Medicine

Staff Editors

Cynthia (Daisy) Smith, MD, FACP, Vice President, Clinical Programs, American College of Physicians

Monica Lizarraga, MPH, Grants Administrator

Disha Patel, Practice Support Coordinator

Cheryl Rusten, MPA, Programs and Grants Manager

Margo Williams, MHA, Senior Associate, Medical Practice



The following have disclosed relationships with commercial companies or organizations:

Cynthia (Daisy) Smith, MD, FACP


Stock holdings/stock options with Merck. 

Spouse works for Merck.

All other individuals listed (manager, contributors, editors) have nothing to disclose.


Financial Support

This module was supported by Funding Opportunity 1L1CMS331476-03-00 from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents provided are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.

Continuing Medical Education

The American College of Physicians (ACP) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education (CME) for physicians.

The ACP designates this CME activity for a maximum of 20 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 20 practice assessment MOC points in the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. Participants will earn MOC points equivalent to the amount of CME credit claimed for the activity. It is the CME activity provider’s responsibility to submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting ABIM MOC credit.

This module offers CME and practice assessment MOC points, as well as verification of attendance. Credit is divided into two stages. After taking the ACP Practice Biopsy, reading the background material and case study, and reviewing the resources, users may submit for up to 10 credits and points. To receive the remaining 10 credits and points you must create an Action Plan, implement measurable changes in one or more targeted areas, and come back after 30 days and take a Follow-up Biopsy before CME/MOC can be claimed.

Once you have completed each stage, you will be provided instructions on how to claim CME and MOC credit or download a certificate of attendance.

Release Date: 08/9/2021
Expiration Date: 08/9/2024

To earn CME credits, you must attest after completion of the second module biopsy that you have:

  • Participated in the completion of the ACP Practice Biopsy
  • Participated in the review of the ACP Practice Biopsy result
  • Participated in identifying an action plan to improve our practice
  • Participated in the implementation of the plan
  • Participated in the follow up ACP Practice Biopsy to measure improvement

When you have done so, follow the on-screen instructions to complete and submit the submission form.

Available Credit

  • 20.00 ABIM MOC
  • 20.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 1.00 Attendance


Please login or register to take this course.