Former Ohio Governor and WVU President launch hospital-focused solution to address opioid crisis

West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee and Former Ohio Governor John Kasich announced on Thursday the formation of Citizens for Effective Opioid Treatment.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV)-- Former Ohio Governor John Kasich and West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee announced on Thursday the formation of Citizens for Effective Opioid Treatment.

According to WVU Medicine, the organization's mission is to advance evidence-based solutions for the nation's opioid crisis and to educate policymakers and the public about the negative impact the crisis has on the nation's health care infrastructure.

“Hospitals and health systems across the country are in the trenches trying to manage this crisis as best they can but are struggling given the complexity of the cases, the sheer number of patients involved, and the often meager reimbursement for providing the care,” Gee said. “We must ensure people across the country hear the voices of these frontline caregivers loudly and clearly and help them understand how this ongoing crisis is endangering the viability of America’s hospitals.”

Kasich and Gee recently met with a number of West Virginia health care providers to hear firsthand about the impact of the crisis on their operations and to discuss new and innovative ways to care for patients struggling with opioid addiction, according to WVU Medicine.

Gee says that they're fortunate that so many great mind and passionate people are focused on the crisis, but they also have to back them up with the resources needed to start changing.

A lawsuit was recently filed by 31 West Virginia hospitals against opioid manufacturers and distributors, according to WVU Medicine.

Those hospitals join more than 300 hospitals across the nation that have filed similar suits, according to WVU Medicne.

Kasich says settlement dollar funds cannot be allowed to spent on anything other than addressing to crisis.

“We must use opioid settlement dollars to make our hospitals whole and to develop new and evidence-based treatment programs," said Kasich.

Kasich cites the $206 billion tobacco master settlement agreement, which research concluded that not enough of the settlement dollars were being spent on anti-smoking measures.

“We should ensure that any settlement with the opioid manufacturers and their distributors is used to develop medical programs and treatment protocols to combat the crisis while working to help stabilize the hospitals most impacted by it,” Kasich continued. “We have to put opioid settlement dollars to work and put them in the hands of our caregivers.”