by Dr. Richard Bankowitz
October 31, 2017
This Nation is currently confronting a devastating and urgent health crisis. In recognition of the magnitude of the problem, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a Public Health Emergency. America’s health insurance providers have been on the front lines of this emergency for some time and have seen firsthand the harm and disruption it has caused to their customers, their families and their communities.
For several years, health plans have been partnering with federal and state leaders, doctors, hospitals and community organizations to find effective non-opioid and non-pharmacologic treatment options for chronic pain, and to ensure patients struggling with addiction get the evidence-based treatment and support they need.
Health plans across the country are implementing solutions that work. Here are but a few examples:
These examples show the great progress health plans have made in reducing the number of addictive substances in our communities. But we agree; more can – and should – be done. That’s why our teams are implementing programs that work and are finding new solutions. For example, AHIP launched the STOP Initiative to ensure Safe, Transparent Opioid Prescribing for pain care. Our first action under this initiative is the release of the STOP Measure, an evidence-based methodology developed from the work of AHIP’s Opioid Workgroup, that health plans can use to measure how well providers are following the CDC guidelines for safe opioid prescribing.
This is just the start. We won’t give up fighting for an end to the epidemic, and we will remain focused of reducing opioid dependency and improving the lives of our communities.
For more information about health plan efforts to address the opioid crisis, please visit: https://www.ahip.org/issues/opioids/
Dr. Richard Bankowitz, MBA, FACP, is Chief Medical Officer of AHIP.