Cherokee Regional Medical Center Thursday, Nov 03, 2022

Cherokee Regional Medical Center Takes Lead Role in New Program Aimed at Optimizing Pain Management

The Billion Pill Pledge program, backed by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, is designed to support patients through surgery and recovery by implementing and delivering advanced, opioid-minimizing surgery

Cherokee Regional Medical Center (Cherokee Regional) is proud to announce participation in the Billion Pill Pledge program, launched in conjunction with Goldfinch Health.

In October, the Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced the initiative designed to prevent opioid addiction before it begins. Cherokee Regional was the first hospital in the state of Iowa to sign on with this groundbreaking pain management program.

“Our office has worked hard to secure settlements from the companies that contributed to the opioid crisis. Now it’s time for state and local governments to use those funds to abate the crisis, including by preventing future addiction,” Miller said. “We are grateful to have Cherokee Regional Medical Center join us in this important work.”

Surgery has long been known as a gateway to long-term opioid painkiller use and dependence. Studies show 9% of surgery patients who have never used an opioid become long-term users of opioids after being legally prescribed opioids after a surgery.

Through the Billion Pill Pledge program, Cherokee Regional will enhance its surgery protocols and optimize pain management around surgery. These industry-leading approaches are designed to enhance patients’ preparation for surgery, better manage any surgery-related pain, and minimize opioid use.

“We applaud Attorney General Miller for highlighting this issue and understanding the importance of prevention in addressing the opioid crisis,” said Gary Jordan, CEO/President of Cherokee Regional. “Opioid challenges are not just patient challenges. They are community challenges. The Billion Pill Pledge program will help us to better serve our community.”

As a part of this program, patients will have access to a Goldfinch Nurse Navigator who are experts in surgery and recovery. Goldfinch Nurses will support patients during the critical period before and after surgery to help increase the use of opioid-minimizing surgery protocols. Patients will also receive a “Prepared for Surgery” care package prior to surgery. This box includes a number of items key to optimizing a patient’s surgery experience

“The support provided by Goldfinch Health is critical to our success in optimizing patient care, especially when our resources are stretched,” said Dondee Halverson, Surgery Manager at Cherokee Regional “This program means our patients have access to the resources they need to confidently prepare for and successfully recover from surgery.”

The mission of the Billion Pill Pledge is to reduce leftover opioids after surgery in the United States by 1 billion pills each year, thereby avoiding those pills being possibly diverted to unauthorized use by others.

The Billion Pill Pledge initiative joins another resource announced in September by Attorney General Miller. provides a pathway to recovery for Iowans with Opioid Use Disorder and their loved ones.

Goldfinch Health is an Iowa City-based company dedicated to enhancing surgical outcomes, improving the surgery experience for patients, and reducing opioid use.

For more information about the Billion Pill Pledge program, please contact Meredith Allan via email at

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