TriHealth Team Designs Program to Help Prevent Diversion and Abuse of Controlled Substances Through 100% Compliance with State Reporting Requirements

TriHealth-Controlled-Substance team

The Health Collaborative is pleased to recognize TriHealth’s “Meeting the Controlled Substance Requirements for Prescribing Benzodiazepines and Opioids” team as a finalist for the Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award, as part of the 2017 Inspire | Healthcare dinner and awards celebration planned for November 1.

The goal of this project was to improve performance in the documentation of Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) reports and annual controlled substances agreements. In November of 2015, OARRS review and contracts demonstrated an approximately 40% and 50% compliance rate.

Exceeding expectations
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy requirement to review OARRS reports less than every 90 days for patients on long term opiates and benzodiazepines is a challenging goal to meet. Improving compliance with OARRS reports may help prevent diversion and abuse of controlled substances.

This project is worthy of recognition because it establishes protocols and processes to ensure safe prescribing of benzodiazepines and opioids. The team achieved high clinical value by reaching 100% compliance with OARRS requirements and their success has been sustained over time. It also demonstrates that care compliance with state reporting requirements can be achieved through standardized protocols and processes.

Impressive progress
Over 6 months, process changes were implemented that improved the Bethesda Family Practice (BFP) compliance rate with OARRS reporting from 40-50% in 2015 to 100% in 2017. In addition, compliance with completed annual controlled substance agreements increased to 90%. These reports and agreements are shown to help prevent diversion and abuse of controlled substances among patients on long term opiates and benzodiazepines.

Different strategy, better outcomes
This solution differs from others by the following protocol: BFP established a monthly Patient Registry, which displays (OARRS/contract) on the physician schedule, mandatory office visits are scheduled every three months, refill request protocol (smart phrase) specific for controlled substances is used (includes last office visit, future office visit, dates of last OARRS reviewed, and date last contract renewed) and finally a “60-90 day” report forwarded to the care team to schedule patients requiring a follow-up.

About the award
First presented in 2003 in memory of Dr. Richard Smith, a tireless leader and proponent of the safety of all patients, this award recognizes an individual or team who exemplifies commitment to quality improvement, makes it an organizational priority, and serves as a role model for those working to enhance the quality of care within their organization and throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities.

The Leadership in Quality Improvement Award is given to the individual or team that has identified an opportunity to improve patient care and safety, and applied the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) principles of quality improvement to develop a successful intervention. TriHealth has demonstrated measurable improvements in the Triple Aim areas of healthier people, better care, and lower costs. Their work focuses on a clinical or non-clinical project that impacts patient care and/or experience.

The award also seeks to recognize the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improve care, and/or lower costs in this award category. Their innovation measurably improves significant business and/or clinical processes that positively impact patient care.

Meet the Team

  • Jonathan Sorscher, MD, Project Lead
  • Rita Kleinmann, Medical Assistant
  • Francisca Webster, Medical Assistant, Back Office Coordinator
  • Matthew McCreary, MD, Resident MD
  • Rob Oliver, D.O., Resident MD
  • Deanne Owens, Front Office Specialist
  • Constance Zimmer, Practice Manager
  • Angela Fellner, PhD, CCRP, Clinical Research Coordinator

Please join The Health Collaborative in congratulating the TriHealth team on its innovative process improvements to achieve the goal of “Meeting the Controlled Substance Requirements for Prescribing Benzodiazepines and Opioids.”

About Inspire | Healthcare:
Inspire | Healthcare is the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region’s premier annual healthcare event and awards celebration. The awards seek to recognize innovations by individuals, teams, and/or organizations in the areas of informatics, quality improvement, and population health. Other awards given annually include the Inspire Champion Award and the Hoxworth Blood Drive Awards, with separate nomination and judging processes. For more information about Inspire | Healthcare, visit

About the Health Collaborative:
The Health Collaborative strives to lead data-driven improvement initiatives that result in healthier people, better care, and smarter spending. Based in Cincinnati, we work with those who provide care, pay for care, and receive care, to find mutual solutions to healthcare’s most challenging problems. For more information about The Health Collaborative, please visit

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