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Successful Opioid Addiction Treatment Program Expands to Blue Cross Members

A successful pilot program to treat opioid addiction among Blue Care Network members is showing promising results, prompting an expansion of the program to Blue Cross PPO members.

The Community-based, Life-changing, Individual, Medically-assisted and Based on evidence program, better known as CLIMB, is a clinical pilot program that launched last year for 250 Blue Care Network and BCN Advantage members.

CLIMB uses evidence-based components of care, such as family involvement, medically assisted treatment, education about the disease process and coordination of care with all the member’s treating providers, including their primary care doctors.

The 12-month pilot project serves members at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services near Grand Rapids and at Henry Ford Maplegrove Center in Bloomfield Hills.

“I’m pleased to report that we’re rolling out the program to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan fully-insured commercial PPO members this year,” said Dr. William Beecroft, medical director, Blue Care Network Behavioral Health. “Providers can now refer these members to the program for addiction treatment at those two facilities.”

Beecroft said since launching the program back in May, there have been a significant increase in first fills of medications used in the medication-assisted treatment phase of the program – 78 percent of patients are filling necessary prescriptions after they leave the inpatient facility, compared to 36 percent before the program. A grant from the BCBSM Foundation will help Michigan State University researchers analyze the program and publish an article based on findings.

Since CLIMB began, improvements such as a cognitive behavioral therapy component and a depression screening tool have been added to an app used by participants. Improvements have also been made to help patients as they transition from inpatient to outpatient care to ensure that outpatient providers have complete information from the inpatient social worker before being contacted by the patient. Other innovations are being explored as the program moves forward.

“We are exploring ways to incorporate recovery coaches and have home health care providers in place that can go into the home to provide medically assisted treatment medication administration and motivational interviewing to enhance continued care,” Beecroft said. “We emphasize the outpatient continuing treatment to help the member adjust to life without substances, and to look forward to a better quality of life.”

Beecroft notes that once a person remains substance-free for two years, their relapse rate is about the same as someone who never used opioids, underlining the need for a comprehensive treatment plan.

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