Cigna sets goal to cut opioid use by 25 percent

Cigna provided details Thursday on a plan to help curb the opioid problem in the United States. A major element of Cigna's efforts is a plan to decrease the use of opioids by 25 percent among the health insurer's own customers over the next three years.

"To respond to this crisis, all stakeholders — patients, physicians and other providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, payers, pharmacists and governments — must join together to prevent substance use disorders and assure access to all appropriate treatments," said David M. Cordani, president and CEO of Cigna.

In addition to reducing customers' opioid use by 25 percent through prevention, wellness and chronic disease management programs, Cigna plans to:

1. Support the rapid adoption of the newest CDC guidelines on opioid use and urge prescribers to check state Prescription Drug Management Program databases before prescribing more than a 21-day supply of a painkiller.

2. Examine tools to screen Cigna's customer data to identify high-risk customers and enhance tracking programs to flag instances of possible inappropriate use and inform prescribers of issues.

3. Treat substance use like other chronic diseases — holistically and using an evidence-based approach. One approach is medication-assisted therapy, which combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders.

4. Raise awareness about the nature of substance use disorders as chronic diseases that require treatment and combat the view that patients should be blamed for relapses.

5. Encourage others in the health insurance industry to join the fight against substance use disorders and the opioid epidemic, and applaud others for taking steps to reduce opioid-related deaths.



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