CVS grows Aetna opioid overdose program to include SDOH support

Aetna is linking Unite Us, a social care coordination platform, with its Guardian Angel program for members who have suffered an opioid overdose. 

The insurer, owned by CVS Health, will roll out the joint effort first in North Carolina, it announced this week. Using the Unite Us platform, care managers will be able to more effectively link members with social supports and other nonclinical options to aid in recovery, such as housing and healthy food. 

Daniel Knecht, M.D., vice president of health strategy and innovation at CVS, said in a statement that addressing social needs can chart a better path to recovery. 

“We recognize that whether a person is able to successfully able to fight addiction isn’t solely determined by the medical treatment they receive,” Knecht said. 

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The case managers will also participate in the NCCARE360 network, a shared network of health and human services workers that is expected to be available statewide in North Carolina by the end of 2020. 

Participating in the network will further drive the goal of reaching a person- and community-centered solution for opioid addiction, CVS said. 

Aetna launched the Guardian Angel program in 2018, and since then case managers have made connections with nearly 1,000 Aetna members and their families after an overdose. Members who’ve been contacted through the program range in age from 16 to 79, with a median age of 45, and live in every part of the U.S. 

In addition to the opioid epidemic efforts in North Carolina, Aetna and Unite Us are expanding into New Orleans and Tampa Bay, Florida, to boost access to social services as part of CVS’ broader Destination: Health initiative.

These initiatives will focus on dual eligibles in those areas, CVS said.