Cities join together in lawsuit against JCAHO

Published: Nov. 2, 2017 at 5:31 PM EDT
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The cities of Huntington and Charleston, as well as the towns of Ceredo and Kenova, have joined in a lawsuit against the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) for allegedly “underestimating the dangers of opioid addiction.”

That agency sets pain management standards for health care providers throughout the country.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, the lawsuit claims that JCAHO “grossly underestimated the dangers of opioid addictions in setting pain management standards in 2001 and that its resulting – and continuing – misinformation campaign led to over-prescribing opioids to patients.”

It suit goes on to say, “(this) has resulted in the inappropriate provision of opioids with disastrous adverse consequences for individuals, families, and communities in West Virginia and throughout the nation.”

The lawsuit seeks class action status in part to enjoin JCAHO from continuing to enforce what the suit alleges are dangerous standards as accepted medical practice nationwide. It also seeks damages to remedy the impact of JCAHO’s continued standards.

“No cities have been hit harder by the national opioid crisis than we have been, and no municipalities have a greater motivation to find solutions and prevent further opioid addiction than we do in Charleston, Huntington, Kenova, and Ceredo,” said Charleston Mayor Danny Jones in a release. “If The Joint Commission’s pain management standards – and explanations that accompanied them – had accurately disclosed, rather than misrepresented, the risks of opioids to patients and physicians, it would have discouraged the use of opioids instead of leading to the over-prescription of these drugs that have led to so much tragedy in our city and region.”

WSAZ reached out to the organization named in the lawsuit for comment. Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson said they were not yet aware of the lawsuit.