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CASA Launches Ambulatory Surgery Center Opioid Toolkit to Reduce Post-Surgical Opioid Misuse

SACRAMENTO, CA., September 16, 2019 -- The California Ambulatory Surgery Association (CASA) today announced the availability of a new toolkit intended to help healthcare providers combat opioid misuse and dependence in post-surgical patients.

The toolkit, developed in collaboration with the California Society of Anesthesiologists (CSA), contains a variety of tools that may be used in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) for physician guidance and patient education on pain management. Materials include an office poster that details a five-pronged approach to post-procedure opioid prescribing; a brochure to provide to patients and caregivers on safe opioid use; and a short video on opioid education and pain management for patient viewing before procedures.

The toolkit is available to members at, and CASA encourages sharing with surgery centers, clinicians and in other settings throughout California and the United States. Materials are based on the latest research and policies from nationally recognized medical organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“Opioid misuse is an epidemic in America, and misuse often begins with treatment for acute pain, including patients who are recovering from surgical care. We trust this toolkit will help healthcare practitioners ensure they are following appropriate prescribing practices and sharing non-opioid pain management techniques that support patient recovery,” said Beth LaBouyer, Executive Director, California Ambulatory Surgery Association.

By the year 2020, about 60 percent of outpatient surgeries are projected to be performed in ASCs, and health care providers who work in these facilities play an increasingly critical role in the communication and patient education efforts surrounding safe opioid use.

“Over the last few years, the ambulatory surgery center industry has taken a leadership role to address post-surgical opioid prescribing,” said Tara Vail, Chief Operating Office of HST Pathways, who led the toolkit initiative on behalf of the CASA Board of Directors. “This toolkit represents our commitment to ensuring that patients who truly need opioids to treat their pain have appropriate access, while expanding knowledge about non-opioid medications, techniques, and resources available to the medical community and patients for optimal pain control and protecting patient safety.”

CASA was pleased to partner on the toolkit with the California Society of Anesthesiologists, as the anesthesia specialty is on the front lines of guiding patients through safe and effective pain management strategies. The CSA sponsored the patient education video, “How to Manage Your Pain After Surgery,” which is intended to help educate patients before and after surgery about safe use of opioid therapies, risk factors to be aware of, and the importance of designing and following a multi-modal pain management plan. The video is available in both English and Spanish here.

“It is exciting to see physicians and healthcare providers working together across the healthcare continuum to better educate patients about opioid risk and pain management options before their surgical procedures, and coordinating on transitions of care afterward,” said Shalini Shah, MD, Chair of the Pain Committee for the California Society of Anesthesiologists. “With heightened patient education, a focused commitment to prescribing best practices, and increasing adoption of non-opioid pain management therapies, we can make significant progress in preventing long-term opioid dependence, preventing misuse, and avoiding preventable adverse events.”

The toolkit also includes materials to visually indicate adoption by a surgery center, including a pledge to be signed ASC staff to reflect their commitment to best practices and prescribing guidelines, and a CASA/CSA-branded certificate that may be publicly displayed to demonstrate that commitment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the dangers of prescription misuse, opioid use disorder, and overdose have been a growing problem throughout the United States, and on average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.[1] For many patients, surgery represents the first exposure to opioids, which play an important role in pain management when they are used safely in accordance with physician recommendations. Research has found some of these patients are vulnerable to dependence, with one recent study finding that almost 15 percent of patients in outpatient centers reported using opioids without a prescription, in greater amounts, or longer than prescribed.[2]


About the California Ambulatory Surgery Association

The California Ambulatory Surgery Association (CASA) is a proactive leader in the ambulatory surgery industry, and will advance communication and education, appropriate legislative and regulatory actions and continue the enhancement of industry excellence to embrace the challenges of the 21st century.

[1] Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2017. Available at

[2]  Mason MJ, Golladay G, Jiranek W, et al. Depression Moderates the Relationship Between Pain and the Nonmedical Use of Opioid Medication Among Adult Outpatients. J Addict Med Nov-Dec 2016;10(6):408–413.

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