WASHINGTON – Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) President and CEO Scott Serota, attending today’s White House ceremony where President Donald J. Trump signed legislation to address the opioid crisis, issued the following statement on the new law and continued efforts by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield System to support Americans affected by the epidemic:
“We believe that everyone impacted by the opioid crisis should receive the right care in the right setting and have access to evidenced-based treatment,” Serota said. “We’re pleased to have worked with lawmakers in both parties to enact this landmark legislation, which will bring much-needed relief to millions of Americans. We continue to work with local communities, Congress and this administration to provide those who are suffering the resources and treatment they need and deserve.”
In conjunction with today’s White House event, BCBSA reinforced its commitment to launching Blue Distinction® Centers for Substance Use Treatment and Recovery to provide consumers with the best clinical thinking and evidenced-based approaches in dealing with the long-term issues associated with opioid use disorder.
The Association also intends to establish a national, toll-free hotline to provide all Americans—including those who are not covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies—a way to locate designated treatment centers. Both programs are expected to be operational in 2020.
As health care partners to one in three Americans, the 36 independent, locally based BCBS companies have been addressing the opioid epidemic at the local community level by reducing opioid prescriptions and collaborating with medical professionals, employers and communities to address gaps in the continuum of care. These efforts are informing national solutions:
- All BCBS companies adhere to the CDC guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain and cover non-opioid pain treatment and medication-assisted treatments.
- The Association’s National Council of Physician and Pharmacist Executives (NCPE) adopted a professional standard that opioids should not be prescribed as first or second lines of pain therapy in most clinical situations.
- BCBS companies around the country are employing a range of approaches to address over-prescribing and improper use of opioids, to encourage the most effective recovery care, and to combat fraudulent practices that often harm the most vulnerable.
In July, a BlueCross BlueShield Health of America report revealed that opioid prescriptions have dropped by 29 percent among Blue Cross and Blue Shield members while diagnoses of opioid use disorder—an indication that a patient is dangerously dependent on the painkillers—declined slightly in 2017, the first drop in the eight years that BCBSA has measured the impact of the opioid crisis on its members.
To arrange an interview with a BCBS expert please contact Katherine Wojtecki at Katherine.Wojtecki@bcbsa.com
To learn more about how BCBSA and Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are fighting the opioid epidemic, visit: www.BCBS.com/the-health-of-america