"Games of Chance or Games of Skill:" Choosing the Right Strategy for Pain Management

Course Description: Are you putting it all on red or all on black? Prescribing and managing opioids does not have to be a game of roulette. Join Jess, Jeff and Tim as we discuss choosing the right patient, the right medication and the right plan for opioid therapy. In addition to identifying clinical scenarios for opioid use, we will describe strategies and assessment for patient selection, monitoring for side effects and compliance based on accepted guidelines.

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Jessica E. Geiger, PharmD, MS, BCPS

Clinical Pharmacy Practitioner
VA Northern California
Powell, OH

Jessica Geiger PharmD, MS is a pharmacist practicing in palliative care at OhioHealth in Columbus Ohio. She was never afraid to take the harder road to end up in the right place. She would be a magician’s assistant, talented saxophonist, vet technician and serve in the Marine Corp before landing with solid footing in the pharmacy profession. And, as a chronic pain sufferer since the age of 14, Jessica understands better than most the frustration and unnecessary suffering that comes when pain is not believed or not managed well. Since herniated disks don’t typically happen to 14-year old’s, she was constantly up against being afraid to ask for what she needed, or physicians who either didn’t want to or know what to prescribe for her to function; no one wanted to do anything for her.
Pharmacy in a hospice and palliative care setting allows Jessica the satisfaction of making a profound impact in symptom management for countless pain sufferers by providing appropriate treatment coupled with compassionate care. Jessica leads the integration of palliative care pharmacy into OhioHealth. She is passionate about customized care specific to each patient, and multi-disciplinary palliative care education, especially the pharmacology of medications used commonly in palliative care.

Timothy J. Atkinson, PharmD

National Program Manager, Pain/Opioid Pharmacy Program Specialist
VHA Pain Management, Opioid Safety, PDMP (PMOP)
Murfreesboro, TN

Timothy J Atkinson, PharmD, BCPS, CPE is a Clinical Pharmacy Practitioner in Pain Management at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS). Dr. Atkinson specializes in high-risk chronic pain management and comorbid OUD and pain and his practice has won national awards for innovation and excellence. Dr. Atkinson is passionate about training the next generation of pain pharmacists and is the Director for the PGY2 Pain Management & Palliative Care Residency Program at TVHS. Dr. Atkinson engages in several roles nationally within VA to represent and promote pain pharmacy activities including: The Clinical Pharmacy Practice Office (CPPO) Pain Subject Matter Expert Workgroup, Chair of the VHA Pharmacy Residency Practice Office (PRPO) Pain Residency Program Director Subgroup, and he represents pain on the VA National PRPO Pharmacy Residency Advisory Board. In these roles, Dr. Atkinson has successfully secured two large pain residency expansions across the United States allowing VA to train the majority of pharmacy pain specialists each year. Dr. Atkinson contributes to the literature often and serves as peer reviewer for several journals and as Section Editor for opioids and substance use for the Journal of Pain Research.

Jeffrey J. Bettinger, PharmD

Pain Management Clinical Pharmacist
Saratoga Hospital Medical Group
Schenectady, New York

Dr. Jeffrey J. Bettinger, PharmD, is a Pain Management Clinical Pharmacist with Saratoga Hospital Medical Group in Saratoga, NY, as well as the Senior Strategy Consultant and Therapeutics Associate for Remitigate, LLC. He also served as an invited expert panel member for the FDA during their public workshop Morphine Milligram Equivalents: Current Applications and Knowledge Gaps, Research Opportunities, and Future Directions in 2021. He earned his PharmD from Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2017 with a concentration in nephrology. Following his doctoral training, he completed a PGY1 general practice residency at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, NY. Immediately following his general practice residency, he trained with Drs. Jeff Fudin and Erica Wegrzyn and completed a PGY2 Pain and Palliative Care residency at the same institution.

Dr. Bettinger’s current position with Saratoga Hospital Medical group involves him working alongside primary care providers throughout ten different primary care clinics where he specializes in complex and high-risk pain medication management through direct patient care and electronic consult services. He remains fortified in academia as he continues publishing in peer-reviewed journals, presenting at regional and national meetings, and teaching various pain classes at different colleges of pharmacy. He also mentors students and residents at his clinical sites of practice.

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