TN Governor Praises Commission's Work on Core Competencies

Gov. Bill Haslam established the 19-member commission by executive order in January as part of the TN Together plan to fight opioid addiction in Tennessee.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam thanked the state's Commission on Pain and Addiction Medicine Education on July 26 for identifying core competencies for Tennessee's medical education institutions to ensure future doctors, nurses, dentists, and other prescribers receive in-class training on how to best manage patient pain and properly treat addiction. The commission is part of the state's response to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Haslam established the 19-member commission by executive order in January as part of the TN Together plan to fight opioid addiction in Tennessee. The commission submitted a report to the governor outlining 12 competencies for health care educators and strategies to ensure they are successfully adopted. A list of organizations that have adopted them is available here.

"The firsthand involvement of medical professionals was critical in this process, as they will be the ones implementing these competencies to greatly enhance the effectiveness of our heath care provider training," Haslam said. "This is just the first step in improving the training that our future prescribers receive around addiction and pain medicine, and we feel confident that this will make a difference as we continue to tackle the opioid crisis in Tennessee."

The commission has been working to develop competencies for curricula so future prescribers receive instruction and training on effective treatment for pain, including alternatives to opioids, potential risks of using opioids, proper identification of and treatment for patients who misuse or abuse opioids, and using the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database.

The 12 core competencies are:

  • Epidemiology and population level
  • Pain evaluation
  • Pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment
  • Practical aspects of prescribing and communication
  • Conflict prevention and resolution
  • Chronic pain plans
  • Acute pain care for chronic pain patients
  • Interoffice and interprofessional focus
  • Substance use disorder risk evaluation
  • Development of a treatment plan for the patient with substance use disorderManagement of overdose risk
  • Professional and legal standards

Adoption of the competencies is voluntary but strongly encouraged by the commission, whose members include representatives from the state's public and private medical education institutions, the Tennessee Department of Health, professional associations, and licensed health care practitioners.

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