Beginning on the day of July 1, Cigna will need prior authorization policy for physicians prescribing a long-acting opioid that isn’t being used as part of treatment for cancer or sickle cell ailment, or for hospice care, the insurer stated.
Also, most new prescriptions for a short-acting opioid will be subject to quantity limits, Cigna stated. Cigna will implement prior authorization policy for opioid prescriptions.
In releasing its latest safety measures, Cigna is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines released previous year that suggest non-opioid therapy as the preferable treatment for chronic pain outside of cancer treatment, palliative and end-of-life care.
The policy of Cigna is in support of its goal to reduce customer use of prescribed opioids by 25% by the year of 2019. The insurer is halfway to its aim, Cigna declared last week in reporting a 12% decline previous year.
Almost 62,000 doctors within 158 medical groups that are part of Cigna collaborative care contracts have signed a pledge to decrease the opioid prescribing and to treat opioid use disorder as a chronic condition. Cigna will implement prior authorization policy for opioid prescriptions.
Cigna is working with doctors and providers by observing integrated claims data across pharmacy and medical benefits to detect opioid use patterns that suggest possible misuse by people.
The insurer alerts doctors when their opioid prescribing patterns are not consistent with CDC guidelines.
It developed a database of opioid quality improvement initiatives for physicians to assist them determine the next steps for making better the patient care, involving referrals into chronic pain management or substance use disorder treatment programs.
In accordance to the CDC, drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the USA. Of the overdose deaths that occurred in 2015, 63% involved an opioid.
Providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in the year of 2012, enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills, in accordance to the CDC said. Each day, 46 individuals die from an overdose of prescription painkillers in this country, the CDC stated.
“As a country, we’ve established an over-reliance on opioids to manage pain. If we are going to break the opioid epidemic, we require changing that culture,” stated Cigna President and CEO David Cordani. “Assisting doctors become more aware of their own prescribing patterns and the effectiveness of non-narcotic alternatives for pain management is key to assisting our customers have better health outcomes.”
Cigna said it sustains to work with Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization that assists families living with substance use disorder. A Cigna Foundation grant assisted the organization to launch an online portal previously this year.
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