CMS published a roadmap outlining our efforts to address this issue of national concern. In this roadmap, we detail our three-pronged approach to combating the opioid epidemic, focusing on:
- Prevention of new cases of opioid use disorder (OUD)
- Treatment of patients who have already become dependent on or addicted to opioids
- Utilization of data from across the country to target prevention and treatment activities
Current estimates show that over two million people suffer from opioid use disorder, with a prevalence in Medicare of 6 out of every 1,000 beneficiaries. In order to decrease that number, it is crucial that Medicare beneficiaries and providers are aware that there are options available for both prevention of developing new cases of OUD and the treatment of existing cases. CMS is working to ensure that beneficiaries are not inadvertently put at risk of misuse by closely monitoring prescription opioid trends, strengthening controls at the time of opioid prescriptions, and encouraging health care providers to promote a range of safe and effective pain treatments, including alternatives to opioids. We are also working on communications with beneficiaries to explain the risks of prescription opioids and how to safely dispose of them, so they are not misused by others.
This roadmap is only a start, and as we begin to implement many of our plans and programs, it will continue to evolve.
See the full text of this excerpted CMS blog (issued June 11).