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CEO Dan Loepp: How Blues Plans Are Working to Improve Addiction Treatment

When someone is suffering from addiction or trying to get help for a loved one, finding credible treatment facilities is a burden that can be overwhelming and confusing during a time of immense difficulty.

While a lot has been done to improve addiction treatment, the industry is still highly unregulated, according to a recent Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health of America Report on Opioid Use Disorder.

That’s why Blue Cross is working with doctors and other experts to help ease this burden by making sure our members have access to the most effective treatment centers to get the care they need. The program, which will include a new designation for effective treatment programs, builds upon the existing Blue Distinction® system that evaluates and identifies the highest quality doctors and hospitals.

The Blue Distinction program is one of the many ways that Blue plans are working together to ensure patients are given the most effective and appropriate treatments through value-based and patient-centered care.

And to help connect people with these top-ranked treatment centers, Blue Cross is creating a national hotline, which will make access much easier.

I’m proud Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has been working closely with physicians, experts and community partners to combat the harmful opioid addiction crisis impacting our nation and state.

To reach as many people as possible, our efforts include creation of an Opioids Provider Toolkit; funding initiatives to fight opioid abuse; a public website, Opioids 101; policy changes to limit prescriptions; and coordination.

Nationally, we’re seeing concrete results of our work with opioid use disorder diagnoses down slightly in 2017. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan saw a 34 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions in the last four years – an even greater drop than the 29 percent decline in opioid prescriptions dispensed nationwide.

But more collaboration is needed to fight this epidemic. We at Blue Cross will continue to work with our partners to enhance awareness of this serious health issue and expand access to quality treatment.

A new system to designate treatment centers using proven methods – and a hotline to locate them — are two more critical and proactive steps to help individuals and families nationwide and, most importantly, save more lives.

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