Do you work at a critical access hospital, or hospital that receives rural health money? If so, that is what is behind this type of program. CMS and other government agencies look at your ER/urgent care charts, and sees how many visits are really issues that should be treated in primary care. With this big push for the Patient Centered Medical Home, hospitals are identifying patients who are overusing ER/urgent care, and trying to corral them into primary care. It appears that your hospital is implementing this with pain patients. Our hospital has been doing this for several years, and so far, it has helped some. If these patients are in a "pain contract" with a "pain specialist", they cannot receive narcs from any other provider, ER or otherwise.
I am fortunate to work in a very small hospital, and all of our providers are banding together to try and eliminate the overprescribing of narcotics. If you start referring patients to a "pain specialist", you will, however, notice a huge boost in oxycontin, fentanyl patches, and other high powered narcs in your community. Vicodin use will go down, oxy use or fentanyl use goes up. Sad but true!