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Health Alerts

The Snohomish Health District Health Officer Dr. Gary Goldbaum sends alerts via email to local health care providers. Alerts cover current local, regional or national health threats and important updates on medical care and protocols. Alerts are written as needed to cover urgent or emergent health issues.

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Pain management resources and Breastfeeding support

March 4, 2017

Today’s topics:

  • Pain management resources
  • Breastfeeding support


Pain management resources

Action requested:  Be aware of resources to help clinicians manage patients with chronic pain.

Background & Recommendations

To help address the opioid crisis, UW Medicine and the Washington State Health Care Authority have partnered to offer two services to help clinicians manage patients with challenging chronic pain problems.  

  • The UW Medicine Pain and Opioid Consult Hotline for Clinicians offers “just in time” advice. It’s available for the clinician in the exam room or in the office just prior to seeing a patient with complex chronic pain problems, especially involving opioid management. Pain pharmacists and physicians are available to offer advice on guideline adherence, drug interactions and risks, approaches to dose taper, and, when needed, referral resources for more help.  The service is available 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 1-844-520-PAIN (7246).
  • UW TelePain provides in-depth multidisciplinary “educational” consultation. The weekly audio/video-based conferences feature case presentations from community clinicians and interactive consultations with a multi-disciplinary panel of specialists. Cases are usually scheduled for discussion within days or for the following week. Learn more about the sessions at

Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a free Opioid Guideline App that allows users to access the agency’s recommendations on pain management and opioid treatment. Features include a useful and intuitive Morphine Milligram Equivalent (MME) calculator for drugs such as hydrocodone, transdermal fentanyl, and other opioids. The app also contains summaries of key guideline recommendations, a glossary of terms, and an interactive motivational interview feature.  For more information on the app, visit the CDC’s website by clicking here.  The app is free to download and can be found on the Apple App Store, the iTunes store, and the Google Play store by searching “CDC Opioid Guideline.”

Breastfeeding support

Action requested:  Assure that all hospitals and clinics support breastfeeding.

Background & Recommendations

Breastfeeding newborns is arguably the most effective nutritional strategy known.  Mount Vernon Birth Center was recently recognized as being a Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Birth Center at the Gold level, a significant milestone.  Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Hospitals celebrates the time, effort, and resources facilities are dedicating to supporting breastfeeding and helping our next generation be the healthiest ever.  Parents-to-be can visit the Washington State Department of Health website to learn if a birth center in their community is recognized as Breastfeeding Friendly.

You can find my recent health alerts posted on the Provider pages of our website, at

Gary Goldbaum, MD, MPH | Health Officer & Director | Administration

3020 Rucker Avenue, Ste 306 | Everett, WA 98201 | 425.339.5210 |


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Health alerts include information about diseases or other health risks or issues that affect Snohomish County.