Alliance and Bree Collaborative issue call to action to fight opioid misuse

Opioid addiction is driving the drug overdoses which are claiming too many lives in the US. In 2015 alone, 718 people in Washington state died from opioid-related overdoses. The epidemic is growing quickly, devastating Washington families and communities.

There are many factors driving this crisis and nobody can solve it alone. Together the Washington Health Alliance’s Quality Improvement Committee and The Bree Collaborative are inviting health care leaders across the state to join a coordinated response and to be a part of the solution. Health care providers and health insurance plans can help reduce the number of people who start taking opioids and help those who may be at risk for addiction. Taking action now can help prevent future addiction.

By engaging all members of our health care community, we can work to prevent new people from becoming dependent on opioids and support the recovery of those who already are. While there are many steps that our community needs to take, we are recommending the following priority actions.

For health care systems (medical groups, clinics, hospitals):

  • Register for and encourage routine use of the Washington State Prescription Monitoring Program.
  • Use evidence-informed pain care and opioid prescribing.

For health insurance plans:

  • Include use of prescribing guidelines in provider contracting as a quality/safety goal.
  • Use claims data to identify individual patients who appear to be high utilizers and identify any patterns of potential overprescribing from clinicians.

We are not alone in raising the alarm on this issue. Governor Jay Inslee launched an executive order that brings together state agencies, local public health organizations, law enforcement, tribal governments and other partners to act on opioid addiction. Many local governments, including King County, have formed task forces or other multi-stakeholder initiatives. And nationally, the US Surgeon General launched TurnTheTideRX, a campaign asking clinicians to pledge their commitment to take concrete actions.

We urge you to join us in the fight to reduce opioid addiction in our state.

Calls to action

Materials for providers and consumers

Posted in: Opioids, Overuse

Published: January 9, 2017

About Washington Health Alliance

The Washington Health Alliance is a place where stakeholders work collaboratively to transform Washington state’s health care system for the better. The Alliance brings together organizations that share a commitment to drive change in our health care system by offering a forum for critical conversation and aligned efforts by stakeholders: purchasers, providers, health plans, consumers and other health care partners. The Alliance believes strongly in transparency and offers trusted and credible reporting of progress on measures of health care quality and value. The Alliance is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with more than 185 member organizations. A cornerstone of the Alliance's work is the Community Checkup, a report to the public comparing the performance of medical groups, hospitals and health plans and offering a community-level view on important measures of health care quality (www.wacommunitycheckup.org).

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