Cigna partnership targets opioid addiction, substance use

Cigna will provide the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) with two years of substance use claims data as part of a partnership to address substance abuse, particularly the growing problem of opioid addiction, according to an announcement Tuesday.

ASAM, along with researchers at Brandeis University, will use the de-identified claims data to test and validate performance measures developed by ASAM's expert panel. The data will be used to test three specific measures, according to ASAM: The use of pharmacotherapy for alcohol use disorders, the use of pharmacotherapy for opioid abuse and follow-up after withdrawal management.

"Measure testing is an essential component of performance measure development, adoption, and dissemination," Corey Waller, M.D., chair of the Performance Measures Expert Panel and Legislative Advocacy Committee said in a statement from ASAM. "This work will help assure that ASAM's performance measures are broadly accepted and adopted in the treatment of patients with addiction."

Speaking at an event about addiction hosted by the Washington Post on Wednesday, Cigna CEO David Cordani advocated for "personalized, localized, whole-person engagement" to elevate awareness surrounding addiction and mental health conditions. He said the healthcare industry must treat addiction like a chronic illness, and said claims data can help organizations like ASAM target the earliest phases of mental health and substance abuse conditions.

Research shows that insurers bear the brunt of opioid addiction costs, which has prompted more payer-provider partnerships that utilize claims data. Several insurers have hired social workers and case managers to provide support to patient in detox programs.

To learn more:
- read the Cigna release
- here's the ASAM release
- watch the Washington Post event