March 28, 2018

Cigna hits 25% opioid-reduction goal a year early

Bloomfield health insurer Cigna said it has achieved a 25 percent reduction in opioid use among its policyholders, hitting a previously set target a year ahead of its goal.

Cigna in 2016 announced the opioid-reduction goal, saying it would work with doctors to sign a pledge to reduce opioid prescribing and to treat opioid-use disorder as a chronic condition.

Cigna said it worked with more than 1.1 million prescribing clinicians to achieve the goal, part of efforts to reduce the national opioid scourge. The insurer had set the 25 percent target to return usage of opioids to pre-epidemic levels.

"We are proud that we achieved this goal early, but even more importantly, we did so by enhancing patient support and ensuring our customers have access to the right care at the right time," David M. Cordani, Cigna president and CEO, said in a statement. "There is still much more work to do, and we are focused on continuing to push forward on these efforts every day."

To reach its target, Cigna also collaborated with physicians, dentists, patient awareness and support organizations in local communities to identify approaches that increased safeguards in the opioid prescribing process, enhanced support and counseling, and made it easier to access treatments for substance use disorders.

Cigna said it will expand an existing program that uses predictive analytics to identify patients who are more likely to suffer from an overdose and which prompts interventions to help prevent the overdose from happening. Efforts will be targeted in key regions hard hit by opioid overdoses.

This summer, Cigna is also instituting additional safety measures to further align with national and regional guidelines aimed at minimizing the risk of medications that are more likely to cause an opioid overdose. These measures include limiting the duration of certain opioid prescriptions and ensuring daily dosage measurements do not exceed safe quantities, as appropriate.

The company is also launching a consumer-focused campaign focused on prevention that will educate Americans about pain, how it manifests, how it is treated and how to manage it as safely as possible.

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