The exploding opioid crisis, well documented across the media, has resulted in 142,000 overdoses in U.S. hospital emergency departments in just 14 months between 2016 and 2017, according to the CDC. When employees in a company's workforce have an opioid problem, it affects job performance, absenteeism, and the other employees around them on a personal level.
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, according to a 2019 National Safety Council survey. Workplace overdose deaths involving drugs or alcohol have increased by at least 25 percent for five consecutive years.
First Choice Health is well aware of the national opioid epidemic, and it's a situation requiring all hands on deck. Using extensive clinical knowledge and the latest data analysis technology, the FCH Medical Management team are developing innovative solutions to educate and inform employers, address opioid usage issues, and help employees stay in their workplace.
We're excited to announce the launch of COPE, FCH's Chronic Opioid Program and Education. One of the most comprehensive programs in the country, we offer data analysis and outreach on an ongoing basis, providing much-needed support and education to our clients and their workforces who are struggling with chronic opioid misuse and abuse.
Here's how it works: Using opioid prescribing metrics developed by The Dr. Robert Bree Collaborative (of which I am a working member), we build a comprehensive population health report to identify potential risks within a client's workforce. 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, our 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. We'll continue to work with them to help improve their health and educate them on the best recovery and treatment options. The entire member outreach program is confidential, giving employers more tools to help employees in need without specifically identifying them.
After our initial pilot period that took place in the early months of 2019, we're looking forward to expanding the COPE Program to more clients in the months ahead, and to helping support a healthy workforce population for our clients.
For more information on this program and how to enroll in it, please contact your designated FCH Account Executive, or FCH Case Management at CaseManagement@fchn.com.