Press Press Releases & Media Coverage about First Choice Health

Now offering prescription opioid use report free of charge to Seattle-area employers

Thursday, July 11, 2019

First Choice Health (FCH), a forward-thinking provider-owned health benefits company, announced today that it will offer a prescription opioid use report free of charge to employers in the Puget Sound area. The report will help identify high rates of opioid use which can be associated with potential misuse and addiction among employees. No personally identifiable information will be used.

Employers or brokers/consultants can request this report by calling FCH toll free at 1-833-957-0032 or emailing to opioidcare@fchn.com.

To be eligible to obtain the free report, companies must employ more than 200 people and be located in the greater Puget Sound area; if the company has locations in other areas, only the employees working in the greater Puget Sound area will be eligible. Once initiated, the employer will instruct their pharmacy benefits manager to send their pharmacy claims to FCH to be analyzed; this extract will be de-identified with no personal health information and will be completely HIPAA-compliant. 

This free service will be available for a limited time; it must be requested, and pharmacy claims must be received by FCH between July 15 and September 15. Employers or brokers/consultants can request this report by calling FCH toll free at 1-833-957-0032 or emailing to opioidcare@fchn.com.

"This workforce prescription opioid use report helps to identify if there is a problem, which is the first step in fighting the opioid epidemic," said Dr. John Robinson, Chief Medical Officer at FCH. "We look forward to making our area and its workforces a safer and healthier place."

This effort is an extension of FCH's recently launched the COPE program (Chronic Opioid Pain and Education) aimed at reducing opioid misuse and abuse in the workplace, which can affect productivity, absenteeism, health and safety. As one of the most comprehensive programs in the country to offer data analysis and outreach on an ongoing basis, FCH's initiative provides much-needed support and education for its clients and their workforces who are struggling with chronic opioid use. 

"We wanted to offer this report as a public service to the local community that is so important to what we do at First Choice Health," said Jaja Okigwe, CEO and President of FCH. "This data will not only provide insight to our local businesses about how this growing epidemic might be impacting their employees, but it provides a pathway to addressing it head-on."

The Bree Collaborative's Opioid Prescribing Metrics

This screening report uses four of the nine opioid prescribing metrics developed by the Dr. Robert Bree Collaborative, a workgroup convened in 2017 to help implement opioid guidelines and standardize comparisons between populations to help implement opioid guidelines and standardize comparisons between populations. The actuarial consulting firm Milliman participated in this project by verifying the analytic code used to compute the results for the report. (The report results will be strictly workforce aggregate, and there will not be any individual employee results.)

  • Metric 1: Percentage of patients prescribed any opioid by age group
  • Metric 2: Percentage of patients prescribed chronic opioids (60 days of opioids in one quarter) 
  • Metric 3: Percentage of patients prescribed chronic opioids and sedatives together
  • Metric 4: Percentage of new member's day supply of first opioid prescription which are greater than 14 days

Taking Action on a Deadly Epidemic

FCH's previously announced Case Management program tackling opioid misuse and abuse uses the nine opioid prescribing metrics developed by The Bree Collaborative. FCH is already providing its clients with a comprehensive population health report to identify potential risks, with one high-risk group including anyone who has been prescribed opioids together with sedatives for more than 60 days within a three-month period, a potentially deadly combination. 

Once those at risk have been identified, FCH's medical and behavioral health case managers will reach out to the employees and confidentially discuss their prescription use and treatment options, which may include alternative pain management or counseling. The entire program is confidential but does give employers more tools to help employees in need without specifically identifying them.

The National Opioid Crisis is Impacting More Employers than Ever

  • Employees' opioid use affects companies through injuries, accidents, overdoses, absenteeism, and problems related to mental health and stress
  • 75 percent of U.S. employers say their workplace has been directly affected by opioid usage but only 17 percent feel well prepared to deal with the issue
  • Workplace overdose deaths involving drugs or alcohol have increased by at least 25 percent for five consecutive years

For more information on this program, or to request a report, call First Choice Health toll free at 1-833-957-0032 or email opioidcare@fchn.com.