Today Lt. Governor Brian Calley signed into law a bill package that will tighten requirements around opioid prescriptions in the state of Michigan. At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, we’re committed to reducing addiction and the toll it is taking on families across the state. We are actively engaging with physicians, public health advocates and officials on initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic by enhancing awareness. We commend Governor Snyder, Lt. Governor Calley and Michigan lawmakers on this historic legislation. The following is a statement from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan CEO Dan Loepp:
We are pleased with this bipartisan approach to address the opioid epidemic. It is a strong step forward that strengthens Michigan’s efforts to reduce addiction and abuse. We applaud leaders across government for their work to protect families from this crisis.
As Michigan’s largest health insurer with a strong social mission, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan shares the concern over the crisis and we are also expanding our efforts to prevent addiction and overdose deaths in Michigan. We have significant efforts underway to combat the opioid epidemic by enhancing awareness, and through partnerships with physicians and public health advocates and officials.
We are working on several strategic initiatives to prevent overdose deaths, including:
- Limiting the quantity and day supply of addictive substances. An initial fill of a prescription for one of these medications will be limited to a 5-day supply. Additional fills will be limited to no more than a 30-day supply, but will not apply to members with a cancer diagnosis or who are terminally ill.
- Working directly with doctors to coordinate care to reduce opioid abuse and overdose from prescriptions for controlled substances from multiple doctors without their shared knowledge of prescriptions from others.
- Creation of the Opioids Provider Toolkit, which provides physician organizations links to best practices and resources, tips to safely manage pain, and information on available data and resources on opioid use.
- Development of awareness programs about deadly drug interactions from certain regimens with no legitimate medical rationale.
- Coordination of drug usage reviews and research to alert physicians before patients take a combination of opioids and other medications that can lead to fatal overdose. After six months of working with doctors, we’ve seen a nearly 51 percent reduction in Blue Cross members taking both opioid and benzodiazepine drugs.