Overuse of prescription opioids has led to high rates of addiction and even death. Health care leaders discussed how to manage the use of high-dose opioids in the safety net.
Clinics and health plans serving low-income populations face a tremendous challenge — how to provide compassionate care for patients dependent on high-dose opioids, in the face of a growing epidemic of narcotic addiction and overdose deaths.
CHCF's California Improvement Network (CIN), a community of organizations engaged in improving health care delivery, convened leaders from health plans, community clinics, and government agencies to come up with a menu of approaches appropriate for California clinics and Medi-Cal health plans.
The group talked about the current challenges facing providers caring for patients on high-dose opioids and promising models for treatment. They converged on a set of recommended approaches:
- Create broad community coalitions
- Build a culture of safe prescribing by establishing consistent clinical and operational practices
- Offer providers training programs and resources
- Create multidisciplinary teams to work with patients on high-dose opioids or those with complex conditions
- Spread medication-assisted addiction treatment options
- Deploy utilization and reporting tools to support safer prescribing
- Explore payment reform to support integrated care
- Develop and report outcome measures
This report describes the topics discussed over the course of the day: the problem of high-dose opioid use, the challenges involved in changing prescribing practices, and promising models that could be piloted and spread in organizations caring for low-income populations.
The complete report is available under Document Downloads.