Cigna and VA have partnered to prevent opioid abuse and improve care quality among veterans with chronic pain.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with Cigna to improve patient safety and care quality for chronic pain patients at risk for opioid abuse.
The partnership aims to educate veterans, their families, the public, and healthcare providers about safe opioid use. The organizations will also focus on improving patient and provider interactions related to opioid use and boosting health outcomes for veterans.
“This partnership is in line with VA’s priorities of transforming our business systems and supporting more robust partnerships with state and local communities,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.
“By partnering with Cigna, we have extended our reach to help improve the way healthcare providers approach opioid use and we demonstrate our commitment to place Veterans’ safety and well-being above all.”
The partnership will continue VA’s and Cigna’s efforts to reduce opioid abuse. VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative has decreased the number of veterans prescribed an opioid by 50 percent over the past six years.
More than 75 percent of this decrease is attributed to not starting patients newly on long-term opioid therapy, showing that VA is using multiple strategies and alternative treatments to manage pain more effectively.
The Opioid Safety Initiative provides a toolkit to clinical teams caring for veterans with chronic pain, containing documents and presentations that can aid clinical decisions about starting, continuing, or tapering opioid therapy.
Additionally, VA providers participate in state prescription-drug monitoring programs and training to help combat the opioid crisis.
In June 2018, Cigna announced a goal to reduce opioid overdoses by 25 percent among customers in targeted communities by the end of 2021. The organization would initially focus its efforts in areas where a large number of Cigna customers reside, and where there are higher-than-average overdose rates.
After reducing prescription and illicit opioid overdoses in these areas, Cigna plans to advance initiatives that impact Cigna customers and the communities at large.
“The continued increase in people suffering from overdoses is alarming, and immediate action is needed to help disrupt this trend,” Doug Nemecek, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Behavioral Health at Cigna, said at the time.
“We know we can’t do it alone and are collaborating with partners on local efforts to curb this preventable disease by improving care for people with chronic pain and substance use disorders.”
Through this new partnership, VA and Cigna will promote other existing supportive resources, including the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, and the Cigna’s Veterans Support Line at 855-244-6211. The organizations expect that this collaboration will help further combat the opioid crisis and improve care for veterans.
“Public-private partnerships are critical to address the opioid epidemic in the US,” said David M. Cordani, President and CEO of Cigna.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to partner with VA to support the brave men and women who served in the United States armed forces. We look forward to sharing our resources and best practices to benefit Veterans and the communities that support them.”
Date: May 09, 2019