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

by Daniel J. Loepp

| 2 min read

Different colored pills on metal scale
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. If you found this helpful, you might also enjoy:
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4 Comments

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Blues Perspectives

Aug 22, 2018 at 9:13pm

We’re glad you liked it Ashley! Thanks for sharing.

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Ashley Smith

Aug 22, 2018 at 5:07pm

I think this is AWESOME that BCBSM is taking action to fight against this horrific epidemic! This epidemic has hit my family hard over the years as well and I am happy to see moves being made in a positive direction. This will give the people that actually want and are willing to get help options. Thank you!

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Blues Perspectives

Jul 25, 2018 at 2:39pm

Thanks for sharing, Jill. We are happy to hear you like the Blue Distinction program idea! We definitely want to try to make treatment centers more reliable and will work hard to help give more oversight so that individuals can get the proper help they need.

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Jill Kraczon

Jul 25, 2018 at 11:34am

I think the Blue Distinction Program is a GREAT idea to recognize good, quality treatment centers. Because my area of work is with fraud, I see the results of NOT having a program like this. I would be curious, though to see what it takes to make one recovery center stand out over another. Is it based on success? Doctor/patient ratio? The overall program set up? One of the biggest complaints I hear is the lack of knowledge when picking out the right program for a family member. They all appear to be "amazing" when reviewing the websites. But, the pictures are deceiving, the treatment is deceiving, and when the patient actually shows up to learn it's an old, run-down motel instead, it's frustrating for the families. I hope part of the distinction recognition includes actually visiting the treatment centers and really getting to KNOW them.

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