Blues executive committee targets opioid addiction

With drug addiction in the national spotlight, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) has formed an executive committee to improve opioid prescribing practices and help members manage addiction, according to Behavioral Healthcare.

The executive committee consists of clinicians, chief medical officers, fraud experts, government affair leaders and pharmacy leaders from the 36 insurers that comprise the BCBSA. By assembling addiction experts from various plans, the association hopes to establish standardized prescribing best practices.  

"Our objective is to prevent addiction from prescription opioids," Kim Holland, vice president of state affairs for the BCBSA, told Behavioral Healthcare. "We know this is a complicated issue, and there are many moving parts to it."

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has already started limiting the supply of opioids like Vicoden and OxyContin and assigns a case manager to patients in detox facilities who follow up twice a week to track outcomes and manage follow-up appointments. In 2015, 335 of the 907 plan members eligible for case management services agreed to participate in the program, and 98 percent reached at least one self-identified engagement goal, according to Behavioral Healthcare.

National concerns surrounding opioid addiction have prompted other insurers to implement new initiatives using claims data to initiate "lock-in" programs and identify providers that are overprescribing opioids. In February, President Barack Obama proposed allocating $559 million to the 2017 budget to target opioid abuse and addiction.

To learn more:
- read the Behavioral Health article

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