There are three big areas we’ve worked in. First there’s the care management approach, where people who are getting a lot of opioids are put into care-coordination programs. We have also done a lot of provider education and outreach – where we’ll give letters to physicians on how they are doing on opioid prescription relative to their peers. That drives a lot of change – if you see you’re prescribing a lot more than your neighboring physicians, that’s a wake-up call for you.
Third is our pharmacy policy – what we cover, and when we cover it. We’ve worked with the state to align that around when opioids should be used, and adjusting with the evidence as it emerged. The Kasich administration and the legislature have had a lot of interest in managing the opiod epidemic, and have been very successful.
On the increase in overdoses, I know “blips” is a terrible way to put it, but I think we are going to see changes in statistics as this goes on – but I also think that over time, everything will come down. But it’s not going to be something where we learn from it month to month, quarter to quarter – you have to look at it over the long term. I’m thankful for this community’s response and I’m hopeful.
I think employers are figuring out that this is just part of our community and culture from now on, and I think they’re waking up to the fact they already employ people who are in recovery, and are asking, “How do I continue to support them?” This epidemic has touched so very many of us already that it’s opened a broad dialogue of what these disorders are and what these people look like, and there is a lot more awareness and kindness being shown as a result.