Press Press Releases & Media Coverage about First Choice Health

Now offering prescription opioid use report free of charge to Central Oregon employers

Thursday, October 3, 2019

First Choice Health (FCH), a forward-thinking provider-owned health benefits company, announced today that it will expand its free prescription opioid use report to employers in the  Central Oregon area including Bend, Redmond, Prineville and Madras. This screening report, initially made available to employers in the Puget Sound area, 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 [email protected].

To be eligible to obtain the free report, companies must employ more than 200 people and be located in the Central Oregon area including Bend, Redmond, Prineville and Madras. If the company has locations in other areas, only the employees working in the Central Oregon area will be eligible. Once initiated, the employer will instruct their pharmacy benefits manager to send their company's 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 by Dec. 1st. Employers or brokers/consultants can request this report by calling FCH?s toll free at 1-833-957-0032 or emailing to [email protected]

"Based on the overwhelmingly positive response we received to our workforce prescription opioid use report in the Seattle area, we felt it was a natural next step to expand the offer to other parts of our coverage area and help more communities struggling with this epidemic," said Dr. John Robinson, Chief Medical Officer at FCH. "All workforces deserve to have the data and resources they need to address this issue in a smart, effective and private way, and we will continue doing everything we can to ensure that happens."

This effort is an extension of FCH's recently launched COPE (Chronic Opioid Pain and Education) program 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. 

"Oregon, like Washington, faces a growing opioid epidemic, and employers need every tool they can get to find out how the issue may be impacting their employees and how they can take action," said Jaja Okigwe, CEO and President of FCH. "First Choice Health is proud to offer this service free of charge, and we will continue to find new ways to improve the physical and behavioral health of the businesses and communities we serve."

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
  • 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 all 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
  • Seventy-five percent of U.S. employers say their workplace has been directly affected by opioid usage but only 17% feel well prepared to deal with the issue
  • Workplace overdose deaths involving drugs or alcohol have increased by at least 25% 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 [email protected].