The opioid epidemic has become one of the more severe crises of the modern era. Addressing it has been taken up as a priority for providers, government payers and health care organizations alike. By looking at all sides of the issue, such as what contributed to the crisis and what tangible solutions are being undertaken, these different groups have started to form a road map for changing the trajectory and leading to sustainable change.
The framework of both the causes and effective intervention strategies for government payers has been outlined in a new white paper by Telligen. It looks at how the epidemic has specifically impacted Medicare and Medicaid programs, which has prompted Congress and the White House to issue bipartisan legislation to directly address the opioid crisis and further assist individuals being impacted. The publication also provides examples where instituting programs that target high-risk groups or behaviors could be an effective strategy for payers to change the trajectory that the opioid epidemic is having on their population. Demographic groups (e.g. white, rural, females) and prescribing patterns (e.g. large days’ supply and additional refills) are shown as targets of payer initiatives to impact health outcomes and attributed costs associated with the crisis.
This publication also identifies the main causes that have led to the sharp increase in opioid addiction and overdose deaths over the last several years. This information has enabled Congress and state governments to work with providers on creating an environment of effective medical education that can foster the changes necessary in prescribing practices, patient communication and regulation of the drugs. Examples where state Medicaid programs have been able to make an impact in the fight of this epidemic are also included. One such example is in Oklahoma, where a pain management program and toolkit helped the state and its providers to decrease drug overdose deaths by 15 percent in just one year’s time.
“Not only are we facing a crisis on our nation’s people, but payers, especially Medicare and Medicaid are being hit deep in their pockets from the opioid crisis.” says white paper author, Katy Brown, PharmD, senior pharmacy program manager at Telligen.
For more information, contact Chris English, senior communications consultant with Telligen.