Over the last year, the National Alliance has brought a number of coalition members and healthcare stakeholders to discuss the issues and challenges employers are facing regarding the national opioid epidemic that has hit this country. According to the 2015 Institute of Medicine Report, pain related conditions affect 116 million adults in the U.S., resulting in $560-$635 billion in medical costs and lost productivity. Despite these statistics, many employers have struggled to see the business case for addressing pain management and preventing/treating opioid misuse. This initiative will help to solidify the business case by demonstrating the impact of opioid use on employers and demonstrating effective interventions, including healthcare and community partnerships, to prevent and treat opioid misuse.
A more broad-based initiative is being developed in 2018 with a focus on helping employers understand the overall cost to their populations and develop an action plan that will support their workforce. Through relationships with health plans, employers and coalitions can help facilitate the continuum from data-driven prioritization and management of substance abuse issues to prevention through treatment of opioid misuse and addiction.
In 2017 we engaged in the following ways:
- In the Spring, a webcast was delivered outlining the issues, challenges, and tools such as a new calculator for opioids
- In the Fall several activities were completed including:
- multi-stakeholder discussions at our combined NHLC/All Member Dinner in November with guest speakers from Shatterproof Foundation
- an infographic on Opioids was developed and shared with the coalitions
- baseline questions on Opioid management were developed for our PBM Assessment and Mental Health Deep Dive Model
In early 2018, we convened an Opioids advisory panel of coalition leaders active in areas related to Opioids to potentially define a national framework for the coalitions to support. We expect to complete this framework and take a baseline assessment of employer efforts to combat opioids misuse within their workforces and beyond.