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First Choice Health launches innovative program to curb opioid misuse and abuse in the workplace

Monday, June 3, 2019

First Choice Health (FCH), a forward-thinking provider-owned and provider-driven health benefits company, has launched a new program to reduce opioid misuse and abuse in the workplace. This is one of the most comprehensive programs in the country to offer data analysis and outreach on an ongoing basis, providing much-needed support and education for its clients and their workforces who are struggling with chronic opioid use.

Using opioid prescribing metrics developed by The Bree Collaborative, a workgroup convened in 2017 to help implement opioid guidelines and standardize comparisons between populations, FCH is already providing its clients with a comprehensive population health report to identify potential risks. One high-risk group includes 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.

"With more than 100 million individuals in the U.S. estimated to suffer from chronic pain, many patients who begin with opioid prescriptions that at first seem appropriate, eventually develop a substance use disorder," said Dr. John Robinson, Chief Medical Officer at FCH. "Our program will identify those individuals at risk and offer them confidential assessments, assistance and education to counter any potential negative impact on their health or their job performance." 

"The healthcare industry spends so much time focused on reporting the data and so little time actually implementing solutions, so we are proud to introduce one of the most comprehensive programs in the country that actually takes action," said Jaja Okigwe, CEO and President of FCH. "By leveraging the application of smart, practical data, we can partner with employers to help mitigate and manage a variety of chronic health issues, including prescription opioid abuse and addiction, which continues to be one of the biggest health epidemics facing employers and employees today."