Everyone has a role to play in curtailing the opioid crisis – Chubb

Everyone has a role to play in curtailing the opioid crisis – Chubb

Everyone has a role to play in curtailing the opioid crisis – Chubb

The United States is in the grips of an opioid epidemic. More than two million Americans have come to rely on or abuse prescription pain pills made from opium poppy or synthetic alternatives – and over 100 Americans die every day from overdoses.

In the past 25 years, the number of prescriptions for drugs like morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone offered by doctors in the US increased from approximately 112 million in 1992 to around 236 million in 2016, according to a report by IMS Health. The epidemic, which shows no sign of curtailing, has been declared a public health emergency by President Trump.

“No-one has been left untouched by our nation’s opioid crisis. Unfortunately, despite an increase in awareness, the crisis shows no signs of slowing,” said Caroline Clouser, EVP, Chubb Healthcare. “In fact, the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that 2016 was the worst year on record for drug overdoses, with two-thirds of the 63,600 lives lost due to overdoses stemming from opioids.

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“With so many lives impacted by opioids, everyone has a role to play in curtailing the crisis and insurance carriers and their healthcare provider partners are no exception. At Chubb, we’re committed to working with hospitals and healthcare organizations to provide not only the insurance products they need, but also a range of risk mitigation and management services.”

The opioid problem has intensified the risk landscape for healthcare providers in the US, and has forced risk managers to wear more hats than ever before. Greater public awareness of the problem has led to heightened risk of professional liability and medical malpractice claims.

“The three most common professional liability exposures are: failure to properly monitor a patient, failure to properly follow guidelines and protocols, and wrongful death. The key to understanding such exposures is first examining their root cause,” according to Clouser.

“In today’s value-based healthcare environment, pain management is a key component of patient satisfaction scores, the latter of which are directly tied to provider reimbursement rates,” she told Insurance Business. “As a result, providers must develop an opioid prescription risk management plan that strikes a balance between providing patients with access to the pain management drugs they need, and prescription practices that over-rely on opioids. In the event a patient is harmed or injured as a result of a provider’s prescription practices, they can be held liable.”

Chubb partners with its healthcare clients to assist them through the pressures of the opioid epidemic and reduce associated exposures. The global insurer has developed a six-part plan with recommendations and guidelines on how to build an opioid prescription risk management program. The plan suggests:

  1. Designating a clinical leader responsible for the oversight of pain management and safe opioid prescribing across an organization.
  2. Developing level-specific recommendations for educating clinicians about safe opioid use.
  3. Sharing guidelines for safe opioid prescribing and dosing for post-operative and chronic pain.
  4. Establishing criteria for screening and assessing patients for addiction exposure based on diagnosis, planned treatment and risk for respiratory depression upon admission.
  5. Providing resources for patient education on safe opioid treatment, including risks, side effects, potential for sedation, the danger of polypharmacy, and safe storage and disposal at home.
  6. Instituting protocols for handling patients with drug-seeking behavior who are present in the emergency department, including how to assess red flags that could signal misuse.

“In addition, we offer a number of other risk management services to bolster client risk management programs, including on-site risk management consultations and focused assessments, customized in-service education programs, and telephone consultations,” Clouser added. “We recognize the pressure that risk managers and their teams are facing, and we partner with them to help them navigate these changing times and stay on top of industry trends.”

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  • starr3214 2/1/2018 1:38:23 PM
    This is a beginning and I commend Chubb for starting the conversation on this end. It falls very short of anything that isn't already being tried, howbeit not very coordinated, in every state, every medical institutional provider. I saw nothing about legalizing the use of Marijuana for use,and approval for drug coverage. It has shown to reduce opioid usage in every state in which it is legal. The plan suggested makes a layer of administration again between the doctor and patient, and basically, just gives more reasons to deny patients the medicine they need. Also, the deaths are not for overdoses of prescription opioids for the most part, but people being killed by fentanyl laced heroin which is being made by China to look like many drugs, including Oxycontin etc. They are actually mailing it to U.S. customers! We need to close borders and have tighter security. We need to stop the drugs from entering our country. And, we need intelligent programs to help addicts get clean drugs, and have options for rehabs that really work. And, you need to put in jail the corporate executives who are supplying criminal pharmacies with pills they are selling to pushers. Now, let's get real here OK?
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  • B Campbell 2/2/2018 11:24:37 AM
    This article, like most articles on this subject, paint a very dark picture of those people who use opioids. They are categorized as drug addicts and abusers of the drugs. While I will agree that there is a percentage of people who are abusers, these articles fail to recognize that a percentage of the people taking opioids are legit.

    My wife suffers from a migraine. Please note I did not say migraines, but one single constant migraine. Every second of every minute of every hour of every day of ever week of every month every year for the past 24 years. If you have ever had a migraine, I am sorry, but imagine, if you can, having that pain 24/7/365, and then tell me that if the only relief you could get to be a functioning human being would be to take an opioid, not to eliminate the problem, but to just dull it enough that you can get out of bed and function you wouldn't do what ever it takes to make that happen.

    Here is the problem with the discussion. It assumes that every opioid user is "addicted". That is not true. Yes, some are and that is an issue, but many are not addicted, but dependent, and yes there is a big difference. If my wife stopped taking her opioid medicine she does not go into withdrawals, because she is not addicted, she is dependent. And, yes she has tried not taking the opioid and outside of the sever migraine she had no issues.

    There needs to be a better system to determine who "needs" the opioids and who is abusing them. I am not smart enough to figure that out, but I can tell you that the system that Pam Bondi has put into place just doesn't work!!!
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  • tim molloy 2/8/2018 11:28:20 AM
    Great News
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