Dr. Joe Abate
Dr. Joe Abate, a member of the Lake City community, serves as Chief Medical Officer of Heritage Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center (formerly known as the Dirne Clinic). As Medical Director of a large community health center, one of his first challenges was dealing with thousands of patients seeking chronic pain management. After meeting one-on-one with over 300 patients on dangerously high doses of pain meds, it was clear that the current approach was not working for most patients and the situation begged for a more structured approach. As a result, the clinic established a Controlled Substance Monitoring Program to assist providers in the management of these patients and ensure safe and responsible prescribing. This program utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to the treatment of chronic pain, with medical providers, behavioral health professionals, and lay counselors all working together to help patients through their journey with chronic pain. The clinic has a Pain Management Clinic which now cares for hundreds of patients dealing with chronic pain, and sponsors an annual Pain Summit to educate local providers and healthcare workers in the field. With the right approach, many patients have seen a dramatic improvement with reduction or even discontinuation of their medications.