The United States is in the middle of an opioid epidemic. More than 90 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Aetna is working to reverse the trend with integrated pharmacy, behavioral health and medical programs. Here are some of the steps we’ve taken in the past year:
- The Aetna Foundation announced that it would provide $6 million in grants to state and local projects that address the opioid problem. The first grant, for $1 million, went to North Carolina to help fund its “Rural Opioid Overdose Prevention Project.” The second $1 million grant went to the Pennsylvania Department of Health to turbo-charge the state’s innovative opioid dashboard, a collaborative project between the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the University of Pittsburgh.
- Aetna limited initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain to a seven-day supply in its commercial business. This stricter limit follows federal guidelines, and will help reduce the potential for abuse and addiction.
- Aetna was the first national payer to waive copays for Narcan— a lifesaving, highly effective opioid overdose reversal agent—for fully insured commercial members once their deductible is met.
- In 2017, Aetna continued the initiative it began a year earlier to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions, sending letters to more than 1,000 dentists and oral surgeons who were over-prescribing opioids to patients.
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