Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain in Federally Qualified Health Centers Post–Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines

Published:October 21, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2021.07.024


      • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) opioid prescriptions are lower than national and state rate after implementing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prescribing opioids for chronic pain guidelines.
      • Primary care providers (PCPs) continue to report limited time, shortage of medication-assisted treatment–trained providers, patient management processes, and their own fear when prescribing opioids for chronic pain.
      • PCPs want to use alternatives to opioids for chronic pain, but systemic, patient, and PCP barriers impede their efforts.


      This study provides important insight on the demographic characteristics, knowledge, practices, and perceptions of primary care providers (PCPs) prescribing opioids to patients at federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). Findings suggest that FQHCs would benefit from examining their current pain management policies and practices and addressing issues as they arise. FQHCs need to provide continuing education on pain management for PCPs and partner with external organizations and social service agencies to facilitate patient use of recommended alternative pain treatments. Future research should examine the efficacy of such strategies for improving opioid prescribing practices among PCPs at FQHCs.


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      Kerry A. Milner, DNSc, RN, EBP-C, is a professor at Davis & Henley College of Nursing, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT, and can be contacted [email protected] .


      Susan M. DeNisco, DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, is a professor and director of the Family Nurse Practitioner/Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, Davis & Henley College of Nursing, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT.


      Anna E. Greer, PhD, MCHES is a professor in the Department of Public Health, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT.